No Illini commits in Rivals' Top 250

No Illini commits in Rivals' Top 250

By the time released its top 250 players with the Class of 2013, Bolingbrook quarterback Aaron Bailey and Darby (Ohio) wide receiver/defensive back Caleb Day represented Illinois on that list.

Both weren't high on the list — Bailey checked in at No. 159 and Day was slotted in at No. 218 — but were still included in the field of elite players.

None of the four players who have given a verbal commitment to Illinois so far in the Class of 2014 — Centerville (Ohio) defensive lineman Tito Odenigbo, Lincoln-Way East (Ill.) offensive lineman Scott Allegretti, Naperville Neuqua Valley wide receiver Mike Dudek and Newark Catholic (Ohio) quarterback Chayce Crouch — have cracked Rivals' prestigious list so far.

These lists can fluctuate by the time the final rankings are revealed.

Plus, just because a player is ranked doesn't mean they'll have a standout college career. That's the glass half-full outlook for Illinois football.

The pessimistic viewpoint is last year's 2-10 season Illinois produced under Tim Beckman has affected recruiting.

The Illinois coaches are dealing with a perception problem that comes with any program that went through the struggles the Illini did last season.

Several of the state's top players in the Class of 2014 have already given their commitments to out-of-state schools.

Those players, who are on the list, include Chicago De La Salle running back Mikale Wilbon (No. 161 to Vanderbilt), Chatham-Glenwood tight end Daniel Helm (No. 175 to Tennessee), Glenbard North running back Justin Jackson (No. 225 to Northwestern) and Chicago Mt. Carmel defensive tackle Enoch Smith Jr. (No. 237 to Michigan State).

Five uncommitted Illinois prep players are ranked.

Clifton Garrett, a linebacker from Plainfield South, is the highest-rated at No. 55 with Crete-Monee linebacker Nyles Morgan (No. 83) and Chicago De La Salle offensive lineman Jamarco Jones (No. 97) cracking the top 100.

O'Fallon defensive end Dewayne Hendrix is positioned at No. 103, a significant jump from the initial rankings that were released in February that had Hendrix at No. 234, while Bolingbrook cornerback Parrker Westphal is slated at No. 229.


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74illini wrote on May 22, 2013 at 9:05 am

I am still for the life of me trying to figure out why we number 1) fired Ron Zook, which was likely the best thing to happen to the U of I football program since Mike White, and 2) replacing him with literally one of the top 5 worst college coaches of all time.

read the DI wrote on May 24, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Mike White ended in disaster. John Makovic was a far better (and more successful) coach. He actually built a the makings of a program here.


Moonpie wrote on May 22, 2013 at 10:05 am

Great point, illini74. For all his flaws Zook got them into a couple bowls and seems to have been a better recruiter. Meanwhile, the Sleepy Gazoo has to spin it some by saying not all top-rated recruits pan out. That's because instead of objectively reporting on the team, they see themselves as part of it, as a PR arm of the athletic department.

Beckman should pray he gets Wes Lunt because Bailey is a tad overrated and overhyped and comes already injured. And what they need is a real QB, like Lunt, instead of a runner pretending to be a QB. They have one of those already -- Nathan S.

aaeismacgychel wrote on May 22, 2013 at 6:05 pm

I wish all we needed was a QB to fix things. Nathan Scheelhaase isn't a top tier quarterback by any means, but when he was given more than two steps to throw the ball, he'd be serviceable from the position, heck, sometimes he was even good. But we can't block. Honestly, I'm surprised he didn't wind up dead last year. While Lunt is certainly a high end quarterback, he might get killed if we have a similar O-line to the one we had last year. I mean, to be a pocket passer, you sorta have to have a pocket. We didn't have one of those last year. What we really need are linemen and a coach who isn't a complete clown. Until then, we won't be making any strides. Heck, we could put Peyton Manning back there next year and we still would be lucky to win 2 games and not have him taken off the field in a stretcher.

PortlandIllini wrote on May 22, 2013 at 11:05 am

Can we  say "Death Spiral" yet?     Objectively looking back over the past 50 years of Illini Football is not  a pretty sight.     We can not  honestly blame any one single coach who fails in this environment:    The question the Board of Trustees should ask themselves is "what are the systemic problems which prevent Illinois  from having a successful football team?"     They may want start with the relationship between the Athletic Association   and the Universitty.

aaeismacgychel wrote on May 22, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Honestly, did anyone expect anything different? Last season was an unmitigated disaster. There were no positives or moral victories to pull from it. It started bad, got worse, and by the end was a toxic landspill. We are headed by a complete buffoon whose now fired coordinators looked as though they were rank amateurs. Perhaps the new ones will be better, but I'm certainly not hopeful. The lack of professionalism and discipline of Beckman also doesn't do us any favors. As sad as it is to say it, I wouldn't be able to give a single non-academic reason why a high-end recruit should play for our program. It's an embarassment and won't get any better until Beckman is out. I'm usually more forgiving of coaches, especially 1st year coaches, especially when their team is simply overmatched, but you can tell their players try and the coach handles things professionally. Beckman though showed me absolutely nothing as to why he should be retained. This was an awful firing. Here's hoping in 3 years after this clown is gone, we get a coach who will actually give us a chance to compete. Then the recruits will come. To be honest, I'm half-hoping we don't get any high end recruits simply because I'd have a hard time believing we did it legally and I'd be expecting the NCAA to be putting us on probation every day thereafter. What a joke.

illini82 wrote on May 22, 2013 at 10:05 pm

In most of the past 40 years or so the prevailing attitude among Illini nation was "hope". No we aren't OSU or Michigan but now and then we can field a good team. Unfortunately those peaks are few and far between and the lows are unmitigated disasters that take 3-5 years to dig out of.

And so the cycle repeats itself except instead of "hope" most of Illini nation is feeling "dread".  Many old timer Illini fans say this is as low or lower than when Gary Moeller was here. THAT'S saying something. And as bad as Tepper, Turner and Zook turned  out at least they gave the fans at least a bit of hope...well maybe not Tepper...but anyway with Turner we felt at the time we were getting a near clone to Mike White. A west coast guy who likes to pass and had professional coaching experience.  Too bad he couldn't/didn't want to recruit.  Then there was Zook who helped to build Urban Meyer's eventual Florida national champs. Players liked him...maybe too much as discipline and program organization, as well as game time coaching were terrible.

All that said Tim Beckman makes Zook look like Knute Rockne...well almost. But Zook brought hope AND more importantly recruits. Beckman brought and brings nothing. An underwhelming hire by a scrambling A.D. who thought an open check book was enough to get at least a decent prospect. He was played by Sumlin and rumors are that most coaches can't stand working for the guy. So he rolled the dice and fell in love with the "glowing" recommendations by Tressel and Meyer to hire Beckman. I mean did Thomas even TALK to Beckman?  I've met him and heard TB speak in person as well as other interviews and it doesn't take but 5 minutes to figure out this guy is WAY overmatched, over his head to lead a B10 program. It's not his fault...he's getting paid a lot of money.  Most of us would do a lot worse for his paycheck.

This falls squarely on Mike Thomas for not having his ducks in a row. Thomas had a wish list but he didn't have a "who I can get" list and it bit him. Meanwhile we are the laughingstock of the B10 and ticket sales have plummeted.

All we can do is suffer through what may well be another 2 win or maybe worse season, flush Beckman and reboot. But who really trusts Thomas to make that hire? Illinois football is truly between a rock and a hard place. The final indignity is the knowledge that for all the terribel transgressions and penalties, PSU will likely be in better shape than Illinois football not just in 5 years but during the phase of bowless penalty years as well.

That's Illinois football now and for the forseeable future. All we need to fix it is Superman...but he's got a better offer somewhere usual.

JohnWams wrote on May 22, 2013 at 11:05 pm

Turner and Zook both took Illinois to BCS bowl games. Even though they lost them, they won lesser bowl games and kept fans interested. Illinois will never sniff a bowl game under Beckman, let alone ever see the inside of a BCS bowl.

misanthrope wrote on May 23, 2013 at 8:05 am

As others have said, this shouldn't be a shock to ANYONE. Why would Tim Beckman (you must always say his complete name bc that's the way he refers to himself in the third person) be able to recruit any players of value after demonstrating last season that he not only can't coach at this level but he can't even instill discipline and fundamentals in his players, a drum he was beating loudly from day 1. I wanted Zook gone as much as anyone, but in hindsight I should have opened my eyes and realized that this program will likely never be championship-caliber and we should accept it for what it is: an also-ran that occasionally morphs into a giant killer, giving us all a fleeting glimpse of what it's like to win.

geriatricillini wrote on May 24, 2013 at 2:05 am

Waiting for us to get to a major bowl game AND win it went to 50 years  (1/1/1963) this Jan. 1. FIFTY YEARS!. Only us ancient artifacts saw that...Hell, Butkus was on that team...Dick I mean... I was 13...I'm 63 now. Who will break the string first...Northwestern to the NCAA in bball or us winning a major bowl game? My money is on NU. Only two coaches in my lifetime ever had winning programs here...Mackovic and White. One left for the greener pastures of Texas and the other got the NCAA on his back and had to go. These crummy low tier bowl games we've been to lately don't add up to anything if all you have to be is 6-6 to get in one...that's a joke to me at 6-6.


Want to win big and who doesn't? Then offer 3 mil a year and pray anyone with coaching ability will take it....I doubt any good coach would come here though...why would they? Fix up the stadium...that helped didn't it? Get some 5 star recruits to come? If you can't coach them does it matter?, Mr. Benn. Good kid, great player. What a waste of his time here with the poor coaching he had....think another 5 star will talk to Benn about us? What do ya think he will tell them about playing here? It could be like a line from a Monty Python movie..."Run away, run away!!" ...same for big time coaches.