Nov. 9 recruiting chat

Nov. 9 recruiting chat

Friday, November 9, 2012 - 1:00pm

HQ recruiting blogger Matt Daniels is all over John Groce's targets - ask him about any of the up-and-comers with Illinois interest. He chats at 1 p.m. Fridays but submit questions any time.

Matt Daniels wrote on November 09, 2012 at 12:11 pm
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Hey everyone. Matt Daniels here for another recruiting chat on Friday afternoon. Thanks to those who are back after I took a brief hiatus from last week's chat to cover the Urbana boys soccer team at the state tournament.

We've got some questions already to go that I'll get to, but feel free to submit questions any time. I'll be here until 2 p.m.

Let's get started.

Illini1973 wrote on November 09, 2012 at 12:11 pm
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What are you hearing about Keanu Post (6-11, 240 via Canada)?  It’s been reported in the press that the ‘big boys’ (MSU, IN, MO and others including IL) have been inquiring and at SWIC practices.  And I watched Karrington Ward (Moraine Valley CC) play a helluva game Sat night.  He seemed to be a legit high major prospect but seen he committed to E Mich.  Is there a problem (grades or something else) there?  It will be fun watching SWIC this year, they have some D-1 talent.

Matt Daniels wrote on November 09, 2012 at 1:11 pm
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Hi Illini 1973,

Will get to this question shortly. Got a phone call I'm taking right now. Sorry!

Matt Daniels wrote on November 09, 2012 at 1:11 pm
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Sorry about the delay. Phone call I had to take for a story I'm working on.

Illinois is in the mix with Post, who should help out Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville this season. And other Big Ten schools (Michigan State and Indiana) along with other notable schools like Missouri, Louisville, Cincinnati and Oklahoma State are interested in his skills. Anytime you could add a player with his physical traits, that's a definite bonus. It would be interesting to see if Illinois would take on a junior college player just because you're never quite sure what their back story is or why they ended up going the JUCO route. Sometimes it's harmless. Other times not. I'm sure John Groce and his staff will do a complete check on him.

As far as Karrington Ward, I'm not real sure on his background. He's an Illinois kid, played at Lockport Township High School, so I'm sure if the state school would come calling, that might of interest to him.


TYLERPANKEY wrote on November 09, 2012 at 1:11 pm


Glad to see Illini hoops starting tonite!  Any info on Groce recuiting in the St. Louis Area (HS or JUCO)?? Should be another good year in the SWC with Belleville East, ESL, and Edwardsville all having talented teams.   


Tyler from Belleville


Matt Daniels wrote on November 09, 2012 at 1:11 pm
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Hi Tyler,

Great question and great point. The Southwestern Conference is a battle-tested conference (I've got a little bias since I played in it a decade ago) that if it wasn't four or five hours away from the Chicago suburbs, would get a ton of love and respect. Illinois was interested in East St. Louis guard Deshawn Munson under former head coach Bruce Weber, but don't think the current staff is that interested in him. Obviously Groce and company did a good job sealing up Belleville East guard Malcolm Hill's committment after Hill committed to the previous regime.

Edwardsville's also got some talented senior guards in Tre Harris and Garrett Covington, although I don't think they'll get serious consideration from Illinois. All in all though, the SWC is definitely a loaded conference that can produce some great games night in and night out.

PeterE wrote on November 09, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Hi Matt,

There seems to be a lot of talk and rumors floating about possibility of Tim Beckman getting the axe after his abysmal season and rasing the ire of big time boosters, etc

Even of there is no chance of Thomas firing his boy after one season, it could still hurt recruiting with this talk out there, couldn't it? We'll know better closer to signing day.


Matt Daniels wrote on November 09, 2012 at 1:11 pm
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Hi PeterE,

Yes, there's a lot of talk and a lot of unhappy Illinois fans with the lack of success Tim Beckman has had in his first year. No, he won't get fired after this year. That would be a completely illogical decision by Mike Thomas.

I'm sure other coaches and schools will use Illinois' losing ways and some of the dissession that appears to be going on, but don't know how that will affect Illinois' Class of 2013. Beckman and his staff did a good job getting most of the commits before the season started (18 of the 19 gave a verbal commitment before the season opener against Western Michigan). I don't anticipate those commits wavering from Ilinois in the next few months. I think they understand that Illinois football is going through a rebuilding phase (there's that dreaded word Illinois fans hate hearing, but it's true) right now. But you're right. We will know closer to signing day.

Dingle87 wrote on November 09, 2012 at 1:11 pm

How are football recruits verballed to the Illini football program holding up through this Illini season?  Are Illini followers over reacting when they feel there could be players leaving the class because of the way the season has gone?

Matt Daniels wrote on November 09, 2012 at 1:11 pm
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Hi Dingle87,

I think they're faring pretty well considering the circumstances. There haven't been reports of a mass exodus of recruits looking somewhere else. Some of the commits are still taking visits to other schools (Chicago Simeon linebacker Reggie Spearman for one, but they said when they committed they'd still take other visits. Sometimes high school seniors just want to get away for a weekend and check out a college campus.

I think it's natural for fans to worry about recruits leaving if a team isn't having success and the type of season that Illinois is going through. I think the overreacton part comes to wanting to fire Tim Beckman after one season. There might be some staff changes after the season, but you don't get rid of the head coach after one losing season. You just don't. The trend in big-time college football is you give the coach at least three years to see if it works out.

Anonymous User wrote on November 09, 2012 at 1:11 pm

""some fans are already wanting first-year head coach Tim Beckman gone, which is beyond ridiculous. But that's the culture we live in, where people always want instant success.""


You can blather on and on about how "it's ridiculous to want to get rid of Beckman after only 12 games" all you like. There are plenty of fans who wanted Zook gone before we had the coordinators-running-the-program experiment shoved down our throats; who saw the insane timeouts, seven years of silly PAT formations, inexplicable 2 point decisions, and all the rest. And now we're treated to Coach Beans-n-Franks: High School Harry who has led his team to blowouts at Wisconsin and Michigan, as well treating the homecoming crowd to a thrilling 14 point home loss to Indiana. The fans have suffered far longer than "JUST" 12 games. This isn't a desire for "instant success". This is a desire for someone who knows how to coach, after suffering thru an administration dedicated to waiting out Zook's buyout terms rather than trying to win. Perhaps you agree with Mike Thomas that this attitude is only espoused by a vocal minority, no more than 10% of the fans. Good luck with that idea.

If a coordinator or two is fired this year, will that somehow be less ridiculous than Beckman being gone? How about just a few lower level assistants? Shouldn't they also have to do something more egregious than losing a few football games before being let go? Will Beckman also be accused of wanting "instant success" unless he keeps the entire staff??

ENOUGH with this "blame the fans" attitude. There will be fewer and fewer fans to blame every week in Memorial. And fewer and fewer readers of blogs.

The DIA can keep on lowering capacity at Memorial. And the local media can keep trying to lower expectations. The majority of fans (sorry, but the majority of people are in Chicago: so that's where the majority of fans are too) will logically respond by lowering their level of identification with UIUC. This weekend looks like great weather, but people are simply not going to get up tomorrow and pack up the kids for a 4-plus hour ride to CU. No excuses: just tired of seeing little effort on the field and from the DIA. People are tired of taking it on Monday morning from Notre Dame fans, Michigan fans, Northwestern fans and now Indiana fans. The mini helmets are gone from the office and they won't come back easily. But that's not the fans fault. They're not demanding too much. They've seen too many years of people who ripped out seats rather than trying to hire a winning coach.

Matt Daniels wrote on November 09, 2012 at 1:11 pm
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Hi Anonymous,

All valid points you make. I think the fans are making an excellent point they are unhappy with the current state of the Illinois program by not showing up to the games. That's the first, and best, way for fans to voice their displeasure with the way a program is heading is to not shell out money and time only to be disappointed with the same results weekend after weekend.

What's upsetting, I feel, to Illinois football fans in regards to the 2012 season is the way Illinois has lost. It'd be different if say, Illinois goes up to Michigan and loses 17-14 instead of 45-0. Or beats Indiana in a game that Illinois should frankly, never expect to lose. The way the team has played this year, with dumb penalties, a lack of offensive movement or lack of creativity or anything remotely looking like a Division I football offense at times is another reason why fans are upset. That's their right.


dennis bialas wrote on November 09, 2012 at 1:11 pm

How deeply do you think our journey into the JUCO ranks for football recruiting will be? Do you think it is a wise move? What positions do you think we will go after? How do you think it will be received by the state HS coaches? Strange how some schools prosper doing this and others fail. Which way do you think is better, the JUCO route, or taking your lumps and building exclusively with HS players?

Matt Daniels wrote on November 09, 2012 at 2:11 pm
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Hi Dennis,

Illinois already has one JUCO committ in wide receiver Martize Barr from Iowa Western Community College. I think you might see one or two more JUCO commits by the time the Class of 2013 is finished. JUCO players are a quick fix to the problems that are plaguing the Illinois program, but with that quick fix could come potential problems. You're just never quite sure of why a kid ended up at a JUCO school as opposed to a four-year university. Kansas State, obviously, has worked out a formula for success with JUCO players. A lot too just depends on the individual kid. With the academic standards at Illinois, it is more difficult to recruit JUCO kids than at other Division I schools.

I think JUCO offensive linemen could come in and make the quickest impact, along with wide receivers, two position groups that haven't exactly shined for Illinois and two position groups that aren't too big in numbers so far with the Class of 2013.

I think the state high school coaches understand that Beckman is in a position where he needs to turn the program around in 2-3 years or he might not have a job. Big-time Division I athletics is all about what you have done for me lately, especially as a coach. Beckman and his staff have seemed to make inroads with some of the state's high school coaches so far, and he has said in the past that he wants to keep the high-level Illinois high school players in state and have them come to Champaign-Urbana. Whether that actually happens remains to be seen.

Each way, the JUCO route or building with high school players, has worked at programs across the country. It's all about finding the right mix and the right group of players to win consistently, which Illinois has had a history of struggling to do just that.

Matt Daniels wrote on November 09, 2012 at 2:11 pm
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Going to wrap the chat up this week. Thanks for all the questions and patience while I got to the questions. I'll be back at the same time next week, 1 p.m., for another round. Looking forward to it. Everyone have a great weekend!