The 90 Illini #70: Elijah McCantos

Jun 22, 2022

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I moved Mc-Cantos around on this list a lot in the last three weeks. As I've said before, I constantly pull up the list on my phone and move one guy up three spots and another guy down nine spots. For Mc-Cantos (for some reason I can't put the dash in his last name for the article title because the last time it made the link go haywire), I've bounced him around between the 40's and the 70's.

At cornerback, there is really only one known: Devon Witherspoon will be one of the starters. The second starting spot is likely Taz Nicholson but we won't know for sure until the season starts. The first CB off the bench is likely Tyler Strain but we won't know for sure until the season starts. The grad transfer from Minnesota State (Terrell Jennings) will likely factor in somewhere but we won't know for sure until the season starts. DD Snyder was the fourth corner this spring and might hold down that spot this fall but we won't know for sure until the season starts.

Which means that Mc-Cantos - IF he's at cornerback (he might end up at safety) - could surprise us all and climb all the way to the third cornerback spot. If that's the case, he should be ranked somewhere around 35-40. But he also might just redshirt with the rest of his freshman class. And if that's the case, he should be ranked in the 80's.

I finally settled on ranking him here at #70. He enrolled early this past January but missed all of spring practice with an injury (I think he had surgery?). That puts a question mark here as well. Is this a surgery that requires a full year of rehab? If so, maybe I should have had him at #90.

Or maybe he's 100% by August 1 and fully ready to push Taz Nicholson for the second cornerback spot. See where I'm going with this? Really hard player to rank. But with the injury holding him out for all of spring, I'm backing off any "will play early" expectations.

70. Elijah Mc-Cantos

Defensive Back
Uniform number: 12
Year in school: True Freshman (5 years to play 4)
Height: 6'-0" -- Weight: 175 lbs.
Hometown: Miami, Florida
High School: Edison HS
Five best offers: LSU, Michigan, Penn State, Arizona State, Kentucky
Tom Cruise rating:


You paused on those offers, didn't you? You wondered if I did one of those cut-and-paste things where I forgot to update that line with Mc-Cantos' actual offer list. No, that's his offer list. Other players are discussed more in this class (like Shawn Miller, Jared Badie, and Aidan Laughery), but there's a chance Mc-Cantos is the best recruit in the 2022 class. That's where ESPN had him (top recruit in the class).

I guess that's a way of complimenting 247 for their reach in the rankings industry (mostly because of the Composite Rankings taking hold). Their rating for Mc-Cantos is the lowest of the four ranking services (247, Rivals, ESPN, and On3), and so, for whatever reason, Mc-Cantos doesn't seem to be in the conversation for "best player in the class?" like the other guys. But this was a big recruiting win.

Also, he played high school football for Uncle Luke.

2022 Outlook

I guess I kind of covered this at the top. But let's go through it again.

First off, if he's still rehabbing whatever this injury was, he'll redshirt.

If he's 100%, he's at least in the conversation for the two-deep (that's IF he's at corner, which I expect but don't know). Tony Adams graduated, Taz Nicholson started two games last year so it's expected he'll start 12 games this year with Adams gone. That's how it went in the spring game with Spoon/Taz as the starters and Tyler Strain/DD Snyder as the backups. Terrell Jennings arrives as a one-year transfer so he'll get in there and battle for a spot.

The sixth guy is then Mc-Cantos. He enters fall camp as the sixth corner, but honestly, he could leave fall camp anywhere between 2nd and 6th. If healthy, of course.


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