Get to know Illini football's Class of 2017

The Class of 2017 is here for Lovie Smith’s program. Beat writer Bob Asmussen takes a closer look at each athlete:

Tony Adams, DB
St. Louis University, 6-0, 185

Other interest: Missouri, Purdue, Wyoming.

Lovie, Illini sign 24 players

Illinois football coach Lovie Smith discusses recruiting on Wednesday afternoon inside Memorial Stadium after Smith and the Illini signed 24 players for the Class of 2017, Smith's first recruiting class at Illinois.

UPDATED: Lovie, assistants speak after 2017 class signing

CHAMPAIGN — Lovie Smith stood in front of the lectern on Wednesday afternoon inside the eighth floor of Memorial Stadium, highlighting the plaudits of Illinois football’s latest recruits.

Much like other college coaches did across the country on 2017’s National Signing Day.

Illini commit Adams 'raised ... to be tough'

ST. LOUIS — Tony Adams’ leg was hurting. He was worried about his future. But his Mom, Chiquita, didn’t want to hear it.

“She said, ‘Tony, you’re going to come back stronger or you’re going to whine like a little girl,’” Adams said. “I had to suck it up. My mom raised me to be tough.”

Vaughn: 'Don't know' why it didn't work at Illinois

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Ke’Shawn Vaughn has a new home. Close to his old home.

The former Illinois running back, who announced Jan. 18 he was leaving Lovie Smith’s team, will transfer to Vanderbilt. Vaughn played high school football at Nashville’s Pearl-Cohn.

“When I first asked for my (transfer) papers, I really was interested in going there,” Vaughn said on Tuesday.

UPDATED: Lovie lands two more 2017 recruits

Bennett Williams wants to play college football at a high level — Power 5 or bust. But he also wants  a school with high academic credentials.

Illinois provides both.

Williams, a Mountain View (Calif.) St. Francis cornerback, accepted a scholarship offer from Lovie Smith on Tuesday.

Tate: Smith faces first recruiting test this week

The rationale for a six-year investment of $21 million for a football coach will receive its first legitimate evaluation here Wednesday.

Lovie Smith, former Super Bowl coach with the Chicago Bears, splashed down at Illinois less than a year ago. His name alone attracted widespread attention.

Florida defensive lineman Pate picks UI football

The defensive-minded head coach picked up another player Monday who will help on that side of the ball.

Deon Pate, a 6-foot-3, 233-pound defensive end from Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Fla., said “Yes” to Lovie Smith and the Illinois football program.

“I am now committed to the University of Illinois,” Pate wrote on Twitter on Monday.

Feb. 2 Ask the Sports Editor chat

Thursday, February 2, 2017 - 1:00pm

How did Lovie Smith's first recruiting class compare to others in the Big Ten? How can fans get to see the Cubs' World Series Trophy on Saturday at State Farm Center? What's the outlook like for Illinois basketball the rest of the season and when will Illinois name a new volleyball coach? Anything is fair game in sports editor Matt Daniels' weekly chat, which gets underway at 1 p.m.

Miami Central athletes ready to compete for Lovie's Illini

CHAMPAIGN — Recruiting Florida often has been good for the Illinois football team. Corey Liuget, A.J. Jenkins and Jameel Cook all came from the state.

Lovie Smith is dipping into Florida to fill part of his first recruiting class. Four Floridians have made commitments. So far.