Recruiting tidbits for Wednesday
Spring football practices are done at Illinois.
Recruiting, however, is far from a finished product this spring.
The Illinois coaches were spread throughout the state on Tuesday, visiting key recruits in the Class of 2014.
They spent most of Monday and Tuesday in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs before spreading out to central and souther Illinois today.
So far Illinois has three commits among the junior class.
Two are in-state players — wide receiver Mike Dudek from Naperville Neuqua Valley High School and center Nick Allegretti from Lincoln-Way East High School — while the third is Tito Odenigbo, a defensive lineman from Centerville (Ohio) High School.
Monday was the first day coaches could go out on the road during this evaluation period that will run until May 31.
“Great start to the day!!!” Illinois recruiting coordinator Alex Golesh tweeted on Tuesday morning. “We NEED Illinois players to stay home! #OurStateOurTeam #Win.”
Getting the top linebacker in the state will prove challenging.
Plainfield South’s Clifton Garrett is expected to visit Alabama and LSU this weekend, according to reports, but Illinois stopped by his school on Tuesday.
“Just got a visit from #Illinois,” Garrett tweeted on Tuesday morning.
Another linebacker Illinois is looking at in 2014 is East St. Louis product Kyron Watson.
“Coach Weis And Coach Beckman Used They First Call On Me,” Watson tweeted Monday night, with Charlie Weis at Kansas also taking an active interest in the East St. Louis linebacker.
In other recruiting news, Illinois received a boost Monday with the hiring of Matt Sinclair.
The former Illinois linebacker will have the job title of assistant director of player personnel and relations.
Essentially, his job is to reach out to various high school coaches and former Illinois players, along with helping take recruits around campus when they visit.
This was Mike Bellamy’s job last year before the former Illinois wide receiver became the new wide receivers coach in late February.
“Matt had an outstanding career here and professionally, and has terrific relationships to many of the former Fighting Illini players,” Beckman said. “Matt’s primary responsibilities will be to connect our current team with our former players while also working with our recruiting connection on campus.”
Golesh said the ideal candidate for Sinclair’s position is an alumni who has ties to the Chicago area.
Sinclair fits both those criteria after serving as an assistant coach at Wheaton Warrenville South High School the last four seasons. He also adds a St. Louis flair to the staff after his high school career at St. Louis University High.
The 30-year-old started for three seasons at Illinois and led the 2004 team with 87 tackles.
While Golesh is the recruiting coordinator for Illinois, it’s far from a one-man job.
Marcus Berry is the director of player personnel, essentially Sinclair’s boss, while two recruiting assistants pitch in to help with social media and recruit mailings.
Frank Lenti Jr., a former Illinois football player who is now a video production specialist at Illinois, focuses most of his work on the football team, jazzing up videos for potential recruits.
“We’ve got a really good team,” Golesh said. “Even though everybody’s new because everybody has either moved into an on the field role or a head coaching position or a position elsewhere, it’s solid.”