How is Ben Moore's visit going? Is XRM really going to pick Florida State on Saturday? When is Michael Finke going to make a decision? Ask anything of HQ recruiting blogger Matt Daniels, who chats at 1 p.m. Friday. Submit questions any time.
Welcome everyone to another Friday recruiting chat. Matt Daniels here to take your questions for the next 45 minutes. I'll be cutting it a little short at around 1:45 p.m., but if I don't get to a question, I'll make sure to answer it in a blog next week. We've already got quite a few lined up, but feel free to send more in. The more, the merrier.It's another important weekend for Illinois men's basketball. Ben Moore, a 6-foot-8-inch, 185-pound senior forward from Bolingbrook (Ill.) High School is on campus for an official visit. Will he be the third straight prospect to commit to Illinois after a visit? We'll have to wait and see.Let's get started.
what can you tell me about ben moore and xrm. who are we recruiting for 2014 and how good can myke henry, devin langford and mike shaw be under groce
Hi Nathan -Ben Moore, as stated above, is on campus this weekend after arriving in Champaign-Urbana last night from Bolingbrook. Moore is an athletic forward, and probably the best part to the Illinois fans' ears is he can handle the basketball. His high school head coach Rob Brost said Moore is one of the Raiders' best ball handlers, even with his size. Moore came into Bolingbrook as a 6-4 freshman and has maintained solid all-around skills even as he has grown.Xavier Rathan-Mayes is a combo guard from Huntington Prep (W. Va.) who is originally from Canada. He will choose between Illinois, Florida State and Connecticut at a press conference on Saturday. Rathan-Mayes is more of a scorer than a traditional point guard but could fill both roles at whatever college he chooses. Indications and speculation out there is that Rathan-Mayes is leaning towards Florida State, with Illinois on the outside now. We'll just have to see what he decides, but even if he doesn't pick Illinois, you have to like the aggressive approach new head coach John Groce is taking in trying to lure some of the country's best talent to come to Illinois.As far as the Class of 2014, Keita Bates-Diop from Normal University (Ill.) High School is one to keep an eye on. He has attracted interest from some of the high-profile programs (Kentucky and Kansas to name a few) after a major July he had on the AAU circuit playing for the Illinois Wolves. He's one that Illinois fans would love to see in Champaign-Urbana not only because he's 6-8 with a 7-3 wingspan and a versatile skill set, but also because he's 45 minutes away. Having seen Bates-Diop play twice in two important high school games last winter, I'm confident in saying he's the real thing. There's not much on the floor that he can't do, and with the added attention he's picked up this summer, you'd have to think that will help his confidence and his game.With Myke Henry, Mike Shaw and Devin Langford, you'd have to think they'll need to have increased roles at Illinois this season. That said, how much they develop under Groce will be an interesting sight to watch this winter. I'm especially intrigued with what Langford could be like since he didn't play much at all last year, and everything I've seen and heard about Henry is the kid can score. You'd have to think Henry could become a 3-point sharpshooter if Illinois' up-tempo system thrives under Groce. Shaw brings toughness and determination that could fit well into the Groce's plans. A lot will be decided in the next month of practice before the season opener on Nov. 9.
Rochester's Zach Grant is No. 4 in NAIA with 7.8 catches per game as a freshman. He plays for St. Ambrose. Does Illinois scout NAIA schools for players the coaching staff might have missed? And why was Illinois not interested in Grant as a high school senior?
I've never really heard of football players at NAIA schools that then land on a Division I roster. Not saying it's never been done, but I just can't think of any off the top of my head.
Zach Grant came from a stout and profilic offensive attack at Rochester (Ill.) High School. Watch an Oklahoma State game this season with Wes Lunt at quarterback, Grant's quarterback last fall, and it's plain to see why.
I'm not really sure why Illinois wasn't interested in Grant last fall. He definitely had the numbers (131 catches, 2,310 yards and 23 touchdowns) that make someone sit up and take notice. A lot of times if players haven't caught the eye of college coaches before their senior seasons, it's tough to imagine they'll land at a high-major D-I school.
Rochester has turned itself into one of the elite football programs in the state in the last 10 years under Derek Leonard's coaching. Grant might be one that slipped through the cracks. That's just how recruiting works sometimes.
Do you think Groce would prefer to have Moore or Colbert in the fold?
If XRM chooses another destination do you think Groce will still go for another point in 2013?
With this class being at least 5 recruits and the sophmore class having 6 do you think Groce will want to balance out the classes down the road?
Thanks for your coverage!
He's obviously a fan of both Moore and Austin Colbert from Gill Bernards School in New Jersey since both have been on campus in the last month for official visits. They both are 6-8, with Colbert having a bit more bulk at this point (210 to 185) than Moore. Moore seems a little more progressed as far as his ball handling and ability to create in the open court while Colbert seems a bit more solid in the post. That being said, they seem almost like identical players.
I think if Xavier Rathan-Mayes doesn't end up picking Illinois on Saturday, Groce has to go after another point guard in the Class of 2013. It may be someone you're not hearing much of right now and might be players they're still evaluating. The current roster lacks ball handlers and while Malcolm Hill and Kendrick Nunn are guards, they're more of a slasher/wing player who can get to the rim in a half-court set, but don't expect them to bring the ball up the court under pressure.
As far as the numbers of the classes, I think Groce will want to balance them out the best he can. I had a coach tell me once that they're OK if they only have three or four seniors as long as the rest of the classes have the same number. That way you're never really seeing a dropoff or a rebuilding year if one season is particularly heavy in seniors.
Hope that helps.
Tom Lemming wrote an article that he really feels the Illnois staff will be successfull, that they connect with recruits and are very personable to deal with. What happens if the Illini do not make it to a bowl game? Have they built up enough of relationships with HS coaches in Illinois to start keeping some of the talent in state? I know they got a late start, but with the in state talent this year this would have been a good year to start keeping them here.We cannot continue to just get one or two of the top 25 in this state. What do you think are the three things recruits look for when choosing a school?
Tom Lemming's one of the best in the business and been at it a long time. He's usually spot on with what he says. Just my two cents. I agree with him in that this Illinois staff is personable. Another thing about them that I've observed is that they're hungry. Most of them haven't coached at a level like Illinois and in the Big Ten (which might explain why Illinois appears overwhelmed at times, but that's another topic for another day).
If Illinois doesn't make a bowl game — which doesn't seem like a good bet to make at this point in the season — it can hinder recruiting. I can see the flip side that Tim Beckman and his staff will make though. We didn't do well this year. Come help us turn the program around and leave your own mark.
I know Beckman has made it a priority to win his own home state and keep Illinois prep prospects in Illinois by attending the state school. Of the 19 commits he has for the Class of 2013, eight are from Illinois. What gnaws at Illinois fans are players like the Ty Isaacs and the Laquon Treadwells, essentially the top running back and top wide receiver prospects in the Class of 2013 and a mere two hours away from Champaign-Urbana, leaving elsewhere to play their college ball at.
I think the three things top recruits look for when choosing a school are playing style/playing time, can this school get me to the NFL and how successful have they been recently? In other words, will I be playing in a BCS Bowl, the Little Caesars Bowl or watching the Alamo Bowl while on winter break? I think potential Illinois recruits are still trying to figure out exactly what the playing style Illinois will have under Beckman. Beckman has shown he's not afraid to play true freshmen if they're capable, which could be a bonus. Illinois has produced a quality heaping of NFL players in the past, so that's something Illinois has going for it, but the up and down success of the program doesn't help matters.
This football season has been a disaster so far. If the last half of the season turns out like the first half, what impacts do you think it will have on recruting for the 2014 class?
Hi TheGallopingGhost77 -
Winning certainly helps recruiting. No doubt that is the easiest thing coaches can sell to prospects and their famillies. You come here, we'll win 10 games every year and go to a New Year's Day Bowl. Those are pitches you'll probably hear from Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State.
At Illinois, you'd have to think the recruiting pitch is all about the future. Turning the program around. Getting it up on par with some of the other programs in the Big Ten. The problem is finding those two or three elite players that can help swing a class and get it into that upper echelon level of talent.
As far as recruiting goes for the Class of 2014, I don't think the losing helps, especially the way Illinois has lost its four games. It's different, I feel, if Illinois is competitive for all four quarters and shows a consistent offensive style of play, it will give recruits more of a comfort factor of, 'Oh, OK, this is what the new staff wants to do. I like/dislike this.' Right now the defense, which was supposed to be a strength, has gotten burned repeatedly. The offense, mind you the injury to Nathan Scheelhaase has had an effect on what Illinois probably had plans for before the season started, just looks scattered, and you're not quite sure what to expect. We'll see if any of those questions get answers in the final six games.
Any FB recruits backing away from Illini after being disappointed in Beckman and staff pathectic showing?
Hi banks must go -
Illinois still has 19 commits in the Class of 2013. The only one who initially committed who has re-opened his recruitment is Kenton Gibbs, a defensive tackle from Cass Tech in Detroit. Gibbs still has Illinois among his favorites, along with Indiana, Wisconsin and Pittsburgh, but just wanted to re-examine his options.
I think it will be interesting to see if Illinois winds up 2-10 if recruits start to possibly bail. The coaching staff will have to keep doing its due diligence, which it seems to have, in keeping in touch with its commits. Mind you, Illinois' Class of 2013 is solid. Not spectacular, not poor, but solid. They have two higher profile recruits in Bolingbrook (Ill.) High School senior quarterback Aaron Bailey and Darby (Ohio) High School wide receiver/defensive back Caleb Day who have, when healthy, put up some magnificent games this fall. Most of Illinois' other commits in the Class of 2013 are slightly below Bailey and Day's rankings in terms of national rankings, but you're never quite sure if those lists and all those stars attached to a high school player matter much until they show up on campus and start playing in college.
But a 6-6 finish instead of 3-9 or 4-8 will certainly help Beckman's recruiting efforts and pitches to future players.
Sorry to cut this short everyone, but I'll get to the rest of the questions next week in a blog. Thanks again for participating and having a solid mix of football and basketball questions.
I'll be back at 1 p.m. next Friday for another recruiting chat.Have a good weekend everyone!