Beckman nabs fifth JUCO commit

The Illinois football team continues to snag junior college players for the Class of 2013.

Kyle Kragen, a defensive end out of Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Calif., verbally committed to the Illini on Tuesday, according to Rivals.com. Kragen's verbal brings the Class of 2013 up to 24 commits, which includes five from the junior college ranks.

Expect Illinois to sign possibly 26 or 27 players in early February, even with scholarship limits at 25. Illinois didn't use all 25 scholarships in the Class of 2012, and if a few Illinois players opt to leave early for the NFL, it could open the door for more scholarships.

"That's why that number is somewhat up in the air," Illinois recruiting coordinator Alex Golesh said. "We didn't fill up all the way last year, so you can actually count some back."

Golesh was on the road recruiting in Ohio this week, with the rest of the staff spread out in California, Texas, Chicago and St. Louis, he said.

Illinois has tapped into the JUCO programs in California, securing four commitments in the last three weeks from players out west.

Defensive coordinator Tim Banks, offensive line coach Luke Butkus and defensive line coach Keith Gilmore hit up the Golden State in an effort to bring players who could make an immediate impact once the 2013 season arrives.

It appears head coach Tim Beckman and his staff realize a quick fix is needed, hence the sudden emergence of junior college players committing to Illinois.

Don't be surprised if Illinois lands a few more in the next few months, particularly on the offensive line.

So far, the Class of 2013 only has two offensive line commits (Jesse Chadwell from Clarkston, Mich., and Austin Schmidt from Lewis Center, Ohio) with plans for Christian DiLauro, a tight end from Green (Ohio) High School, to play offensive line at Illinois.

The biggest barrier for Illinois in landing junior college players — the 2012 roster had none and in Ron Zook's seven seasons, the program had eight total — is having them qualify academically.

"You narrow your pool down quite a bit as far as junior college guys because of the academic standards," Golesh said. "The biggest challenge is getting them into school because we know once they get here, they'll be just fine because of the academic support we have. It's the actual (process) of getting them into school."

We'll have more from Golesh in Friday's blog.

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Illini1973 wrote on December 06, 2012 at 9:12 am

Keep your fingers crossed.  Remember when RT brought in the 3 JUCO WRs to cure our ills his first year and how that turned out?

geriatricillini wrote on December 06, 2012 at 10:12 am

I believe Mike White went this route with a bit of success...he could coach them...let's hope the staff knows what to do with these guys...I don't want another 2-10 season...ever! We will see won't we?

mstrom wrote on December 06, 2012 at 10:12 am
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I hope this helps, ala Mike White. I have a belief that you need to give a football coach 2 or 3 years.  It is much much harder to turn around a football team than a basketbal team.  Basketball, 1 or 2 players can make a HUGE difference.  Football, you need solid lines on both sides of the ball - that's 10 and then some play makers on both sides of the ball, say another 6 and then everyone else has to be solid.  So 15 to 20 good players are needed to be average.  Having said this, I will say that this last season tested my patience greatly.

Moonpie wrote on December 06, 2012 at 11:12 am

JUCO players and benching Scheelhaase--that would be a start. They need an actual and real QB.

illinihimeyiswhiney wrote on December 06, 2012 at 11:12 am

Heed the word of our lord and savior moonpie Mr. Beckman. JUCO players will let you start as will benching Scheelhasse! But one must be careful about choosing a replacement for scheelhaase. One must not put in a player who throws the football and runs when he cannot throw the football. Any player who "Passed for 2,110 yards and 13 touchdowns, completing 62.2 percent of his passes on the season ... Also rushed for 624 yards and six TDs in 2011" and "Tossed 17 touchdowns against eight interceptions on the season for an efficiency rating of 132.0 ... Rushed for a UI freshman record and Illinois QB record 868 yards on 185 carries (4.7 ypc) with five TD on the season"  is not actually a QB. He might be an armadillo, a ferret, a mouse, or *gasp* a lemur, but a actual and real QB he is not. Mr Beckman do be careful lest you pick an actual QB but not a real one or, pick a real QB but not an actual one. And all of you out there that might be reading this and saying well that seems silly... IT IS NOT. You MUST HEED THE WORD OF OUR GOD OF GODS MOONPIE. I LIVE WITH HIM IN THE GLORY OF HIS TEAPARTY BUBBLE AND WE ARE INTOLORANT TO ALL OTHER OPINIONS AND POINTS OF VIEWS AND WILL SMITE YOU! (I'm actually not intolerant nor do I have the godly powers moonpie does to do any smiting, but I am a humble convert and loyal follower of the most wonderful being in the cosmos)

 

The word of our lord,

 

Thanks be to moonpie

OKOMIS wrote on December 06, 2012 at 11:12 am

how come u left out the 2012 stat's?? or how about the last 12 games he started...

Moonpie wrote on December 06, 2012 at 3:12 pm

himey--I sure do get your panties in a bunch. Fun to see. Bet you voted for Romney, even though you ain't rich. Or are you? Rich guys can't stand knowing there are people not exactly like them.


Actually, many folks here agree with what I posted above -- the need for JUCO talent and dumping Little Nathan. Beckman obviously agrees. But you have to attack because you are somehow beholden to Oracle Tate.


Do you really think Little Nathan leads us anywhere?

Champ Townie wrote on December 06, 2012 at 2:12 pm

I don't understand why it is especially more difficult for junior college players to be admitted to Illinois assuming that they get an Associates degree.  At least they have shown that they can complete two years of some college.  It is not as if the football players they they have been granting scholarships now would have been able to get into the university without an athletic exception.  They are evaluated on a much, much different scale than the non-athlete.  So, who is to say the juco are kids are any worse students? 

namber wrote on December 06, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Back in the '80s many many California players went the JUCO route rather than sit the pine behind upperclassmen.  JUCOs were free so it was a perfect avenue preparing for the junior and senior years at a Div 1 school.  Further, most of these kids were solid students and not of questionable character.  White knew this system well and was outstanding at enticing several stars 2000 miles east.  Unfortunately, that JUCO situation no longer exists so far too many players are there because they can't qualify academically or are problem children.

CecilColeman wrote on December 06, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Thank you Townie!  A quick scan of rosters at Purdue and Indiana show a sprinkling of junior college transfers.  How do THEY get them admitted???

I am tired of hearing how the U of I academic standards are so high and mighty when it comes to athletes (and yes, I am a graduate). 

Nathan?  Sure - - let him start. He can start at holding for the placekicker.

jjohnson wrote on December 07, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Sorry, Cecil, but IU's standards are not as high as the U of I; I lived in Indiana many years and know that for a fact -- partly because the high schools overall do not rank highly on a national scale, and IU and to a lesser extent Purdue (because of its excellent engineering school) serve their graduates

Chiefton wrote on December 07, 2012 at 4:12 pm

It's really too bad that U of I program is in the shape they are where they have to desperately go out and try to get as many JUCO kids as possible for a hope for a quick fix.  Sometimes this method works, sometimes it doesnt --- but its always a temproary fix.


I am NOT an ND fan, but you have to respect what Kelly has done there in rebuilding that program in the past 3 years --- Notre Dame accepts no JUCO transfers and they seem to have figured out how to rebuild their program just fine without them. 

TennIllini wrote on December 09, 2012 at 11:12 am

No, Notre Dame may not have recruited any JUCO transfers but JUCO transfers are accepted there.  There were several teams that don't go out and recruit hard the JUCO ranks .  But don't tell me that if there was a fantastic JUCO player that wanted to come to Notre Dame and qualified just like any other student that Kelly wouldn't let him on the team.

Chiefton wrote on December 10, 2012 at 10:12 am

If ND accepts/recruits JUCO's it is an EXTREMELY rare occurance.  I agree that Kelly would probably welcome it, but the academic rigors at ND rule out around 99% of all JUCO hopefuls there.  ND does not offer cake majors such as PE or Parks & Recreation for a JUCO tranfer to hide in.  


My initial point was to show that there are teams out there like ND that take pride in offering 4 year scholarships to outstanding student athletes coming out of HS, and dont have a habit of accepting JUCO transfers --- and that they can build a successful program even in this day and age of lowering academic standards among student athlete transfers.  ND had struggled the previous 3 seasons, losing 7 games in 2009 and 5 games each of the past 2 seasons.  But what Kelly & his staff mostly did was go out and recruit the type of HS student athletes that would fit his style of coaching --- and they are now reaping the rewards of that process.


I worry about accepting too many JUCO's in any one year because that recuiting class of freshmen athletes will still be on the light side numberwise when they are seniors. 

TheChiefLives wrote on December 11, 2012 at 9:12 am

It's not fair to compare Illinois to Notre Dame in football.  Notre Dame recruits itself.  Kids from all over the country dream of playing football there.  They have a little bit of an advantage in recruiting because of this...just a little bit.