Allegretti, Domer two intriguing in-state recruits

Allegretti, Domer two intriguing in-state recruits

The signing day hoopla for the Class of 2014 has subsided.

But the push for football coaches signing the Class of 2015 is already in full force.

Before Illinois coach Tim Beckman and his staff turn its full attention to promising juniors across the state and country — Illinois already has one commit in Champaign Centennial quarterback Jimmy Fitzgerald and eight other Big Ten schools have a combined 19 commits — let’s look back at two key recruits who just signed with Illinois.

Both are in-state players.

Both won’t enroll early.

Both played in state title games during their high school careers.

And both are from programs in the Chicagoland area with excellent reputations.

Lincoln-Way East's Nick Allegretti is the lone center Illinois signed with this most recent recruiting class.

The position appears to have solid depth going into spring practices, with Alex Hill and Tony Durkin likely competing for the starting job, so a redshirt season could transpire for Allegretti.

If that does happen and Allegretti can’t take the field until 2015, watch out, though.

Illinois recruiting coordinator Alex Golesh has high hopes for the Lincoln-Way East product, who committed to Illinois 11 months ago today.

“Nicky is a special, special kid,” Golesh said. “He’s going to be a kid here that’s going to start for four years and bust his tail. There were two (top) centers in this class in the state. You can talk about ratings and all that, but we were, and are, 100 percent convinced Allegretti was the one we wanted. That’s the one we offered. That’s the one we went with.”

The three-star recruit and U.S. Army All-American might be at State Farm Center next weekend for the state wrestling finals.

He won a Class 3A regional wrestling title on Saturday and needs to place in the top four at his 285-pound weight class this weekend at the Normal West Sectional to make it to state.

Wrestling is a key reason why the honors student decided not to graduate early and enroll in classes at Illinois for this semester.

“He’s going to be a 4.0 student (at Illinois),” Golesh said. “He comes from an unreal family. He’s just going to be an unbelievable human being here, and hopefully he wins a state wrestling title here in Champaign.”

Another intriguing recruit in this class for Illinois is Matt Domer.

The running back from Chicago Mt. Carmel missed four games this past season with a slight knee injury, but still managed to rush for 1,380 yards and 20 touchdowns while leading the Caravan to a Class 7A state title under legendary coach Frank Lenti.

“Matt’s one of those kids that when we first went into Mt. Carmel, you kind of take who Coach Lenti tells you to take,” Golesh said. “He says you take this guy, you take that guy. He stood on a table for Matt.”

How well Domer might fit into offensive coordinator Bill Cubit’s system concerned the Illinois coaching staff a bit.

“He played in that veer, triple-option offense at Mt. Carmel,” Golesh said. “That part scared me and all of us to say, ‘How is this going to transition into a West Coast/spread offense? How is he going to transition out of a shotgun?’ You watch him work out in the spring, and you could kind of start gathering it. That’s what’s going to take him a minute is to really understand how to see (the hole) and hit it. You can see he has vision on film, and that he’s an intelligent kid on film. It’s just going to take some time to sort it out.”

With Josh Ferguson, Donovonn Young, Dami Ayoola, LaKeith Walls, Devin Church and Kendrick Foster back at the running back spot, Domer most likely won’t have to handle much responsibility, if any, next season.

“(His recruitment) was another relationship deal,” Golesh said. “Coach Cubit’s got a great relationship with him. This was a really, really good running back class in the state. We offered four in the state, and we said, ‘If we get any one of these four, we’re going to be jumping on tables.’ We got one of the four. Where he ranks, I think it depends who you talk to. It’s huge to get a kid from Mt. Carmel. If we’re not getting one from Mt. Carmel a year, we’re probably doing something wrong. You want to make sure you have kids on your team from Lincoln-Way East and Bolingbrook and programs like that.”

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