The evaluation period for Illinois football coaches, and college coaches across the country, ends May 31.
This latest evaluation period started April 15.
The Illinois coaches have, with the exception of head coach Tim Beckman since he can’t visit high schools during this period pursuant to NCAA rules, taken to the road the last few weeks and have a whole month’s worth left of evaluation.
Illinois now has four recruits committed in the Class of 2014 after Newark Catholic (Ohio) High School quarterback Chayce Crouch pledged to Illinois on Wednesday night. Crouch threw for nearly 2,100 yards and 18 touchdowns in his junior season for the Green Wave, who were runner-up in Class VI, Ohio's smallest class, while rushing for 11.
"He possesses a strong desire to develop himself to his fullest," Newark Catholic head coach Bill Franks said Thursday afternoon. "Thus far, he has done that. He works extremely hard in the classroom. He works extremely hard in the community to represent his school. He works extremely hard in the weight room. We’re a school of 300 that traditionally goes up against schools of 1,000 or bigger. It’s a young person that is used to taking on the big guys."
He joins Centerville (Ohio) High School defensive tackle Tito Odenigbo, Lincoln-Way East (Ill.) High School center Nick Allegretti and Naperville Neuqua Valley (Ill.) High School wide receiver/kick returner Mike Dudek.
Let’s take a look at how the rest of the Big Ten stacks up with national signing day a mere, oh, nine months away.
Comment: At least the Illini have more lined up already than Kevin Wilson’s bunch in Bloomington
Dubuque (Iowa) High School offensive lineman Lucas LeGrand, 6-5, 260
Cedar Falls (Iowa) High School offensive lineman Ross Pierschbacher, 6-4, 275
Union (Iowa) High School athlete Jay Scheel, 6-1, 170
Comment: Scheel is a possibility at quarterback, wide receiver or defensive back for the Hawkeyes after a junior season saw him throw for more than 1,500 yards and rush for more than 1,200 yards.
Hinsdale (Ill.) Central High School tight end Ian Bunting, 6-7, 215
Paramus (N.J.) Catholic High School offensive lineman Juwan Bushell-Beatty, 6-5, 295
East Lake (Fla.) High School offensive lineman Mason Cole, 6-5, 275
Saint Clairsville (Ohio) High School linebacker Michael Ferns, 6-3, 235
Grand Rapids Christian (Mich.) High School wide receiver Drake Harris, 6-4, 180
Highland (Utah) High School offensive lineman Bryan Mone, 6-4, 315
The Collegiate (N.Y.) School quarterback Wilton Speight, 6-6, 217
Detroit Country Day (Mich.) School wide receiver Maurice Ways, 6-3, 195
Comment: Harris is the highest-ranked prospect in the class, which saw Brady Hoke get commitments from half of the group in April.
Hinsdale Central (Ill.) offensive lineman Brian Allen, 6-2, 285
St. Francis Catholic (Mich.) linebacker Byron Bullough, 6-2, 195
Cass Tech (Mich.) High School linebacker Deon Drake, 6-1, 215
Ursuline (Ohio) High School quarterback Chris Durkin, 6-4, 216
St. Charles North (Ill.) High School offensive tackle Chase Gianacakos, 6-6, 280
Chicago Mt. Carmel High School defensive tackle Enoch Smith Jr., 6-3, 265
Comment: Three of the commits are from Chicago and its suburbs, a fact that most likely doesn’t sit well with the Illinois coaching staff.
Washburn (Minn.) High School running back Jeff Jones, 6-0, 190
Wyandotte (Kan.) High School quarterback Dimonic McKinzy, 6-0, 213
Chicago Mt. Carmel High School defensive tackle Steven Richardson, 5-11, 280
Comment: Jerry Kill hasn’t had that standout back so far in his tenure with the Golden Gophers. Jones might be that back.
Lincoln Southeast (Neb.) High School athlete Luke Gifford, 6-3, 198
Comment: Gifford is a high school quarterback but could see time either at linebacker, safety or wide receiver with his hometown Cornhuskers.
Avon Lake (Ohio) High School offensive tackle Ben Oxley, 6-6, 260
Bergen Catholic (N.J.) High School linebacker Cameron Queiro, 6-1, 210
Klein Collins (Texas) High School safety Jordan Thomas, 6-1, 180
Wheaton North (Ill.) High School quarterback Clayton Thorson, 6-4, 197
Gaithersburg (Md.) High School athlete Solomon Vault, 5-10, 190
Comment: Thorson is the top quarterback in Illinois in the Class of 2014 and could fit mold of recent Wildcat quarterback Dan Persa.
St. Ignatius (Ohio) High School linebacker Kyle Berger, 6-2, 200
St. Vincent-St. Mary (Ohio) High School running back Parris Campbell, 6-1, 181
Cincinnati Moeller (Ohio) High School linebacker Sam Hubbard, 6-6, 223
Glenville (Ohio) High School offensive lineman Marcelys Jones, 6-4, 325
Lombard Montini (Illinois) defensive end Dylan Thompson, 6-5, 270
Lancaster (Ohio) offensive tackle Kyle Trout, 6-6, 280
Cass Tech (Mich.) High School cornerback Damon Webb, 5-11, 177
Comment: Having an undefeated season and a coach by the name of Urban Meyer makes it an easy sell for the top prep players in Ohio.
DeMatha (Md.) Catholic High School running back Mark Allen, 5-7, 185
Mt. Lebanon (Pa.) High School wide receiver Troy Apke, 6-2, 175
Middletown (Del.) High School wide receiver Chris Godwin, 6-2, 192
Salesianum (Del.) School linebacker Troy Reeder, 6-3, 232
Fairfax (Va.) High School athlete Nick Scott, 5-11, 180
Swansboro (N.C.) High School athlete De’Andre Thompkins, 5-11, 172
Comment: Even with the NCAA sanctions, Bill O’Brien successful first season and high-octane offense is drawing superb recruits to Happy Valley.
Comment: Does anyone want to play football in Indiana? Kidding. We think. Boilermakers should draw in a solid class given new coach Darrell Hazell and his connections.
Sun Prairie (Wis.) High School defensive tackle Craig Evans, 6-3, 325
Monona Grove (Wis.) High School offensive tackle Jaden Gault, 6-6, 281
Arrowhead (Wis.) High School offensive lineman George Panos, 6-5, 290
Marquette University (Wis.) High School defensive end Conor Sheehy, 6-4, 270
Comment: First-year coach Gary Andersen is making sure he takes care of business in-state, always a good sign for a new coach.