Friday, Illinois announced Thomas has signed a financial aid agreement and will enroll at the university in the spring of 2019. The wide receiver will (possibly) have to sit out the 2019 season, but would then have two years of eligibility to use beginning in 2020.
There’s also the possibility that Thomas, a four-star recruit coming out of high school in East St. Louis (Ill.), and the Illini will pursue a waiver that would grant the receiver immediate eligibility next season if approved.
“Jeff Thomas is an elite level football player who we expect to make an immediate impact with the Fighting Illini program,” Illini head coach Lovie Smith said in a statement. “We know he is excited to return to his home state. This continues a string of great players from East St. Louis coming to the University of Illinois. We recruited Jeff extremely hard out of high school, and when he contacted us about the possibility of returning home, we were immediately interested in making his wishes come true. We will fully support his efforts for immediate eligibility at Illinois.”
At the time of his departure/dismissal in November, Thomas was leading the Hurricanes in receptions (35) and receiving yards (563). The sophomore’s 16.1 yards per reception were second on the team while his three touchdown receptions were tied for third.