Daniel Edwards

Three-star defensive back Daniel Edwards committed to Illinois on Thursday. The Winter Park, Fla., native is the Illini's fifth total commitment in the Class of 2021 and fourth this month.

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CHAMPAIGN — Four commitments in one month after a nearly five-month gap between the first and second qualifies as much-needed recruiting momentum for Illinois football.

The Illini made it two commits in two days on Thursday evening when Winter Park (Fla.) defensive back Daniel Edwards gave a verbal pledge to Lovie Smith and Co.

Edwards’ commitment also maintained a southeastern United States recruiting trend for Illinois this month.

The 6-foot, 165-pound defensive back followed in the footsteps of three-star athlete Prince Green (Griffin, Ga.), three-star linebacker Trevor Moffitt (Bushnell, Fla.) and three-star defensive end Sedarius McConnell (Atlanta), all of whom also committed this month.

Edwards is ranked as a three-star recruit by both Rivals and 247Sports. He’s also considered the No. 100 cornerback and No. 127 overall recruit in the state of Florida by the latter.

Speed is Edwards’ top skill. He ran a 10.85-second 100-meter dash before his junior track season was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.

That speed caught the attention of several other Power Five programs and led to 17 total offers. Edwards ultimately picked the Illini from a group of suitors that also included Auburn, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Coastal Carolina, Florida Atlantic, Georgia State, Kent State, Liberty, Louisville, Marshall, Miami, Middle Tennessee State, Purdue, Southern Miss, Troy and Western Michigan.

Edwards’ commitment gives Illinois five total commitments in the 2021 class, with three-star DeSoto (Texas) quarterback Samari Collier joining the two Florida and two Georgia natives.

That class of five, however, still ranks last in the Big Ten per the 247Sports Composite.

Scott Richey covers college basketball for The News-Gazette. His email is srichey@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).

College/Prep Sports Reporter

Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is srichey@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).