For those wondering if Tim Beckman could haul in any last-minute recruiting surprises, he might have pulled one off.
Illinois received its 26th commitment for the Class of 2013 on Wednesday morning when Paul James, a 6-foot-4-inch, 245-pound defensive end from Miami Norland High School, chose Illinois a week before National Signing Day.
James is the third player in the Class of 2013 from Florida, joining Fort Lauderdale University School wide receiver Dionte Taylor and St. Thomas Aquinas defensive back James Crawford, also out of Fort Lauderdale.
James had more than 15 offers, including Florida State, Miami (Fla.) and Texas A&M, among others.
James is the third defensive end commit in the Class of 2013 for Illinois, joining Ohioans Jarrod Clements and Dawuane Smoot. This is the second straight year Beckman and his staff have had a player from Norland commit after freshman defensive end Teko Powell picked Illinois last year.