Illinois first-year coach Tim Beckman landed a big piece to the puzzle on Thursday evening, securing a commitment from one of the nation’s top quarterbacks in Bolingbrook (Ill.) High’s Aaron Bailey.
The in-state jewel told 247Sports he chose the Illini over his other finalist Nebraska.
“We’re very excited,” Bailey stated. “It was a decision we had to make and it was the best decision.”
Besides Illinois and Nebraska, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Bailey held offers from the likes of Arizona, Boston College, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Ole Miss, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin.
Ranked as the nation’s No. 4 dual-threat quarterback and No. 71 prospect overall, Bailey led Bolingbrook to a state championship during the fall, passing for 1,039 yards and 10 touchdowns while running for another 1,983 yards and 30 more scores.
Bailey got to visit Illinois twice during the spring.
“I feel very comfortable and confident in my decision,” Bailey began.
“I feel with the great group of guys they have and great coaches they have, I can help contribute and bring the program back to the top. Why not rebuild in the home state where people love you? Plus they have one of my (Bolingbrook senior) offensive lineman in Robbie Bain going there to protect me.”
Bailey is the fifth commit for Illinois in the class of 2013.
“I really thank God for my family to help me in my decision,” he said. “I thank God for my Dad to be able to take me out to these schools and travel and look around and check everything out. It was just a great fun ride and I thank God I made my decision and found my school.”