Illini Beat SEC and ACC programs For Commit Of 3-star Florida CB Daniel Edwards

Matthew Stevens

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- It’s not an everyday occurrence that Illinois football beats out a Southeastern Conference power program and Atlantic Coast Conference up-and-coming programs for a verbal commitment.

However, that is just what happened for Lovie Smith’s Illini recruiting operation in momentum-building 2021 class of southern high school prospects.

Daniel Edwards, a three-star cornerback from Winter Park, Florida, gave his verbal pledge to the Illini program Thursday evening on Twitter and in doing so, selected to Illinois over scholarship offers from Auburn, Louisville, Miami (Fla.), Cincinnati, Purdue and Southern Mississippi.

“I want to thank God, my family, and all the coaches that’s been with me through this journey,” Edwards wrote in his Twitter message announcing his commitment. “It has been a wonderful experience. God has blessed me to continue playing the game I love at the next level.”

According to, Edwards was primarily recruited by Keynodo Hudson, who just finished his first season as the cornerbacks coach at Illinois after spending two seasons under Lane Kiffin at Florida Atlantic.

Edwards, a 5-foot-11 and 155-pound cornerback, had four interceptions, 21 pass deflections, 40 tackles and one forced fumble according to statistics recorded on two years as a sophomore at Winter Park (Fla.) High School. Last season, he also played wide receiver for a Winter Park program that finished the 2019 season with a 6-4 record.

Edwards ran a time of 10.85 seconds in the 100-meter dash during the junior season for the Winter Park track and field season.

Edwards joins three-star linebacker Trevor Moffitt as Illini 2021 verbal pledges from the state of Florida and becomes the 10th high school player from Florida to either verbally commit or sign with Illinois over the last three recruiting cycles.