CHAMPAIGN — Bret Bielema's in-state recruiting push includes trying to draw graduated athletes to Illinois football from out-of-state colleges.
It worked with Michigan State fullback/tight end Max Rosenthal, a New Trier product who announced his transfer to the Illini in January.
And it worked again Thursday afternoon, when Loyola graduate Jack Badovinac announced via Twitter that he's committed to Illinois. The 6-foot-2, 295-pound offensive lineman has spent four years at FCS program Colgate.
"I am extremely excited to announce that I am committing to the University of Illinois!" Badovinac wrote on Twitter. "Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way! #ILL @IlliniFootball."
Badovinac made 33 starts in his Colgate career, including in both of the Raiders' spring 2021 games. Colgate went 0-2 and experienced a pair of cancelations, including Saturday's scheduled contest with Holy Cross. Badovinac was listed at left guard in one of those two games' box scores.
Badovinac twice made the All-Patriot League first team, as voted upon by the conference's coaches, and is a member of the 2010-19 Colgate All-Decade Team. Prior to his college tenure, Badovinac helped Loyola to the 2015 IHSA Class 8A state championship.
Badovinac is the eighth college player to transfer to Illinois since Bielema took over the program last December, joining Rosenthal, North Carolina State linebacker C.J. Hart Jr., East Carolina running back Chase Hayden, Alabama defensive back Eddie Smith, Notre Dame receiver Jafar Armstrong, Georgia defensive back Prather Hudson and Northern Illinois tight end Mike Cerniglia Jr.