Jordan Anderson

Joliet Catholic junior Jordan Anderson

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CHAMPAIGN — Bret Bielema entered Wednesday morning carrying five Class of 2022 commits.

By the following Thursday morning, that number had risen to eight, with the new Illinois football coach making a strong pursuit in landing players from some of the state’s most tradition-rich programs.

Brother Rice junior tight end Henry Boyer committed first to the Illini on Thursday morning with an announcement on social media before Joliet Catholic junior running back Jordan Anderson followed suit with a similar announcement on social media.

The additions of Boyer and Anderson give Illinois four in-state commits right now for the eight-man Class of 202, which is ranked 28th in the country according to Rivals and 26th according to 247sports.

This gives Illinois the sixth-ranked class in the Big Ten, according to both major recruiting services, and the eight commits are the most of any Big Ten West team at the moment.

“First of all, I want to thank all of those throughout my life who have taken time to invest in me as a football player and person,” Boyer wrote on Twitter. “I have been dreaming of this since I was a little kid. With all of that being said, I would like to announce my COMMITMENT TO THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS! #GOILLINI.”

“First off I want to thank God for helping me be in the position I am today,” Anderson wrote on Twitter. “Thank you to the Illinois coaching staff for believing in me to accomplish my dream. That being said, I will continue my education and football career at The University of Illinois!!! #GOILLINI.”

Boyer and Anderson join New Jersey tight end Owen Anderson in committing to Illinois over the last two days out of the Class of 2022. Rutgers junior quarterback Artur Sitkowski also announced his intention to transfer to the Illini on Wednesday night.

Boyer is a three-star recruit by 247sports and unranked by Rivals. The 6-foot-7, 250-pound athlete’s only other offer is from Kent State.

Jordan Anderson is a three-star recruit by both Rivals and 247sports. He starred as a running back for 6-0 Joliet Catholic during the 2021 spring season, compiling 1,080 yards and 18 touchdowns for the Hilltoppers. Anderson possesses other offers from Ball State, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Miami (Ohio) and Toledo.

Boyer and Anderson join Rochester receiver Hank Beatty and Iroquois West offensive lineman Clayton Leonard as the other in-state commits for Illinois right now in the 2022 class. The quartet joins Owen Anderson, quarterback Donovan Leary from Sicklerville, N.J., offensive lineman Hunter Whitenack from New Carlisle, Ind., and offensive lineman Joey Okla from Hartland, Wis., who have all committed to Bielema’s program in the last three months.

Colin Likas covers Illinois football and high school sports at The News-Gazette. He can be reached at clikas@news-gazette.com, or on Twitter at @clikasNG.

College/Prep Sports Reporter

Colin Likas covers Illinois football and high school sports at The News-Gazette. His email is clikas@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@clikasNG).

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