Ask our new recruiting blogger Matt Daniels about Demetrius Jackson's campus visit, Michael Finke's rising stock or anything else on your mind. Fire away as he'll be chatting at 1 p.m. each Friday.
Greetings everyone on this rainy and cloudy Friday in Champaign-Urbana. We'll get this week's chat started, and feel free to ask away. I'll be here until 2 p.m.
I keep hearing that Demetrius Jackson's campus visit went well, but do you know any intersting particulars to back that up besides him trying on the 11 jersey? For example, who did he seem to jell with, did he scrimmage with the current guys and how did that go, did he say anything interesting that might shed light on what he might decide, etc.?
Thanks Matt. -Mike
Hi Mike-By all indications, Demetrius' Jackson's official visit went well, perhaps even better than the Illinois coaching staff expected.He scrimmaged at Ubben with the players, and stayed most of the weekend, arriving last Thursday.He attended most of Illinois' football game against Western Michigan and went on some tours of the campus.
His Twitter was abuzz all weekend with photos he took at Memorial Stadium and after workouts. All in all, it seemed like he had an enjoyable time.Malcolm Hill, a Class of 2013 recruit from Belleville (Ill.) East High School, was also on hand to meet with Jackson. No doubt that should benefit the Illini when future commits have a chance to pull some sway on potential commits.
Grouping two possible future teammates together for a visit is a smart move by new head coach John Groce and his staff. It makes the recruits feel more at ease.Then again, by no means does it guarantee a commitment yet from Jackson. Kansas and Notre Dame are in the running, but Illinois didn't do anything to hurt its chances with one of the more talented players in the Class of 2013. That should be a good sign, even if Jackson hasn't come out publicly with which way he is leaning.
And who knows if he will until he signs, but Illinois made up ground with his official visit. Jackson is ideally that point guard Groce and his staff are desperately seeking, so you can imagine they'll pull out all the stops in an effort to land him.
I'm a little late but welcome Matt and thanks for the chats. I have a couple of questions this week. First, all of the attention is on LaQuon Treadwell, and rightfully so, but what is the status of some other Illini recruiting targets at WR (John Armstrong, DaeSean Hamilton, etc)?
Second, Beckman seems to be making great in roads for the Illini in the state of Ohio with both this class and the 2014 class. How competitive do you think Beckman can be in the state of Ohio with top prospects against the likes of Ohio St, Michigan, and Michigan St. who annually build their programs off of those top Ohio recruits?
Finally, can you update us on Augusta's recruitment?
Hi Mike W.Thanks for the welcome. I'm eager and excited to try — key word try — to tackle the ever-changing world of recruiting. You never know what high school kids are going to decide, which makes it all the more intriguing. On to your questions.It seems John Armstrong's services are going to come down to Illinois, Duke and Wake Forest. Armstrong, a 5-8, 165-pound speedster out of Olympia (Fla.) High School in Orlando will most likely pay a visit to Illinois at some point this fall. He could be someone that could fit in nicely in Tim Beckman's spread offense by catching passes in the flat or bubble screens and letting his quickness take control. Of all the schools interested in him, Illinois is one of the more high-profile ones. Whether that's good or bad, I'll let you decide.DaeSean Hamilton is 6-0 and 180 pounds from Mountain View High School in Stafford, Va. Illinois might have to contend with a plethora of ACC schools, like Miami, Boston College, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest, among others, but it appears Illinois might be on the outside looking in. If Hamilton does make his way to Champaign-Urbana — and if Illinois' pass offense opens up a bit Saturday at Arizona State and shows signs of progress — it might be enough to lure Hamilton to Illinois.One other potential wideout who is already an Illinois commit is Ottawa (Ill.) High School senior Michael Hermosillo. The 5-11, 190-pound senior has rushed for 500 yards in his first two games with the Pirates this year, but has solid hands and is expected to take on more of a pass-catching role with Illinois. He's also an exceptional baseball player who might get drafted in next summer's Major League Baseball Draft, so watching what he does will be something to keep an eye on. He could remind some Illinois fans of another former two-way football and baseball player to wear the orange and blue, Kyle Hudson. From everything I've heard, Hermosillo is on the same boat as Hudson far as talent and character is concerned. I think it's a good pickup for TIm Beckman and his staff, who have made it a priority to wrap up recruits from Illinois.Beckman is doing a stellar job in making inroads in Ohio, which could well turn out to be a pipeline of talent like Washington, D.C., was under Ron Zook. I think Beckman and his staff can compete against the likes of Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State right away. For that to continue, however, Illinois needs to win consistently like those programs. Beckman is an Ohio guy, and he understands the quality of football players that come from his home state. His time spent as an assistant coach at Ohio State and his three years as head coach at Toledo certainly can help him and his staff, who have shown they're not afraid to go anywhere so far in search of talented players who might change the Illinois program.As far as Josh Augusta's recruitment, the senior defensive tackle from Peoria (Ill.) Central High School has narrowed his choices down to Illinois, Missouri and Michigan State. You'd have to think Illinois' recent track record of defensive linemen moving on to the NFL (Cory Liuget, Whitney Mercilus, Josh Brent, to name a few) along with the promising development of Michael Buchanan and Akeem Spence could help sway Augusta to Champaign. But Michigan State and Missouri will be tough schools to fend off, especially if Michigan State has another solid year and Missouri fares well in the SEC.
Welcome to the Illini.
Do recruits on official visits stay overnight with a host player at their dorm/room/apartment or do they stay at a hotel/motel? Is a parent or friend allowed to accompany the recruit at all activities? How long does an official recruiting visit last? Do these recruiting guidelines vary by sport?
Thanks for the welcome. It's good to be here. Very good, specific questions by the way, and for the first two, I'm not entirely sure. I don't want to give you wrong information or mislead you, but that is something I will look into and try to find out for you.
Official recruiting visits usually last all weekend. They are planned out well in advance and are very detailed, usually tailored to a specific recruit's wishes. If a recruit wants to see the campus, campus visits will be arranaged. If a recruit wants to see the facilities, that'll be thrown into the mix, too. Basically, it's the coaching staff and current players' job to make a positive impression on the recruit and try to lure him into wanting to play for Illinois in the future. If the recruit's more reserved and quiet, they'll adjust the visit that way. If the recruit's more sociable and personable, they'll introduce him to a wide range of people.
There's not one set formula when it comes to recruiting. It varies with each individual recruit and each sport. Obviously, for example, getting a basketball recruit onto campus when there's a home football game helps out. It gives the recruit an idea on what the buzz is like on campus and what goes on with a major sporting event. Sometimes though, recruits might want to come in when there's no home football game and just check out the facilities, meet with the players and coaches, etc.
With QB seemingly set for next couple of years, what will be the real need positions to go for in the class of 2014? Also the state of Illinois had a ton of OL talent in the senior class, but they all decided to commit elsewhere. Will that be a priority for next year? Hopefully starting with next year illinois HS players will look to Illinois a little closer!
You're right, quarterback appears to be pretty set for the forseeable future, with Nathan Scheelhaase, Reilly O'Toole, Miles Osei and Bolingbrook (Ill.) High School senior Aaron Bailey figuring to take the majority of Illinois snaps for the next 4-5 years.
Offensive line should be a priority next year, with Graham Pocic and Hugh Thornton set to graduate. The line is one of the areas Illinois needs to improve upon the most. You're right on in-state linemen, like Ethan Pocic from Lemont (Ill.) High School going to LSU and Kyle Bosch from Wheaton (Ill.) St. Francis heading to Michigan, going away for their college choice. I'd expect Beckman to try to rein in some in-state offensive linemen prospects in the Class of 2014 to bolster that unit.
Again, the new Illinois staff wants to win the state for its top players. Sometimes that's in their control. Sometimes not. Some kids just want to go away for college. You can't blame them for that, but Beckman and his staff will do everything in its power to convince them to stay in-state. Then again, that job and sales pitch becomes much easier if Illinois starts to win on a consistent basis and starts going to major bowl games on a yearly basis.
Well, I'm going to wrap up the chat this week. Thanks to all those who participated. Enjoy your weekend, and I'll be back at 1 p.m. next Friday for another weekly chat!