CHAMPAIGN – Illinois has gone back to a familiar spot for another football recruit.
Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic linebacker Ian Thomas is the third player from the Washington, D.C., area to orally commit to the Illini. He joins Washington Dunbar receiver Arrelious Benn and Dunbar defensive back Nathan Bussey.
The 6-foot, 215-pound Thomas had interest from ACC and Big East schools.
There already is a strong D.C. presence on the team, with cornerback Vontae Davis, defensive back Travon Bellamy, defensive end Will Davis and quarterback Eddie McGee among Illini players from the area.
Illinois offensive coordinator Mike Locksley is a D.C. native who has recruited the area for years. He has strong ties to the schools and the coaches.