Dec. 21 recruiting chat

Friday, December 21, 2012 - 1:00pm

If there's a blue-chipper interested in Illinois, Matt Daniels knows about it. Ask him anything on your mind during his weekly recruiting chat. It starts at 1 p.m. Friday but submit questions any time.

Matt Daniels (moderator) — 01:00 PM on Fri, 12/21/2012

Welcome everyone to another weekly recruiting chat. Matt Daniels joining you here for the next 45 minutes to an hour. Feel free to submit questions any time, and I'll get to as many as I can today before 2 p.m.

Programming note: This will be the last recruiting chat of 2012. I won't have one next Friday, so plan to come back on Friday, Jan. 4, for another installment. Thanks again for the interest.

And here we go with this week's chat.

Anonymous User — 01:00 PM on Fri, 12/21/2012

How many players are going to enroll in January?  I know we have 5 JC playes and at least i High School player.

Anyone else? 

Matt Daniels (moderator) — 01:06 PM on Fri, 12/21/2012

Hey Anonymous User,
Currently you should expect 10 players to enroll early, including the five junior college transfers who signed on Wednesday in wide receiver Martize Barr, defensive tackle Abe Cajuste, STAR Eric Finney, offensive lineman Dallas Hinkhouse and safety Zane Petty.

The other five will come from the high school ranks in defensive back Dillan Cazley from Charleston (Ill.) High School, defensive back Darius Mosely from O'Fallon (Ill.) High School and offensive linemen Jesse Chadwell from Clarkson (Mich.) High School, Austin Schmidt from Olentangy (Ohio) High School and Christian DiLauro from Green (Ohio) High School.

It's a good sign to see three offensive linemen commits coming in early and getting a spring practice session in. These players usually take the most time to develop, add weight while also adding mobility (never an easy task) and getting acclimated to the playbook and different blocking assignments. Plus it'll be good for DiLauro, who was a tight end in high school but is projected to play on the offensive line at Illinois.

Dazed1 — 01:06 PM on Fri, 12/21/2012

With the lack of schlorships on hand for 2014, what happens if an Austin, Lyle etc..all of a sudden announce they would like to come here to play? Would coach Groce have to "Crean" a couple guys off the roster? encourage transfers?  With the lack of openings, do you see that as being a sticking point to a recruit as far as not wanting to be the guy that causes someone else to leave.

Matt Daniels (moderator) — 01:11 PM on Fri, 12/21/2012

Hey Dazed1,

If Springfield Lanphier's Larry Austin Jr. or JaQuan Lyle from Bosse High School in Evansville, Ind., decide they want to come to Illinois, it's a safe bet Illinois head coach John Groce and his staff find a way to make it happen. Those are the keywords. Find a way to make it happen. Obviously, with the current scholarship situation, finding a way to make it happen would most likely mean one of the current players transferring. I'm not going to start throwing out names because I'm not sure who has even thought of that or if the staff has even discussed that with current players.

It could possibly be a sticking point for some recruits. With the two you mentioned, Austin and Lyle, they essentially have at least a dozen high-major Division I schools after them. Once they start to go on more visits in the coming months, their lists will whittle down some. And by then, Illinois' scholarship situation for the Class of 2014 might change as well.

Illini Nation Fan x4 — 01:11 PM on Fri, 12/21/2012

Long time reader, first time submitter.

The state of football is in shambles, in my humble opinion.  As an alum and die hard fan, its hard to swallow what is happening with this football team and even harder to commit my time and money.  How is recruiting Juco players going to help out this dismal program?  Immediate help, yes.  Long term?

More importantly, and understanding that Illinois is not on his short list, is it possible that Jabari Parker could choose the Illini based on their performance so far this season?

Furthermore, due to the weather we are currently experiencing, is the Braggin' Rights game still going to happen?


Matt Daniels (moderator) — 01:18 PM on Fri, 12/21/2012

Hey Illini Nation Fan x4,
Thanks for reading and thanks for submitting a question. The more, the merrier.

The football program is obviously not in a good place or a place any Illinois fan most likely thought possible after the 2010 and 2011 seasons. You're right in the short-term benefit of bringing in five junior college players. All these players should most likely vie for a starting spot or at least find themselves in a rotation for playing time with the 2013 season. If they thought otherwise, it's doubtful they would have come on board.

Long-term benefit, it could help open a pipeline for Illinois if the junior college recruits turn into a success story. On the flip side, it could also hurt the program going forward if they don't pan out and meet expectations. It's always a risk-reward with junior college players. It's a risk the current coaching staff felt they had to take by looking at the holes from the 2012 team and trying to find immediate stopgaps for the 2013 season. College football coaches aren't given the luxury these days, right or wrong, of waiting to win. Wins are expected immediately, especially given Ron Zook was fired after two straight bowl appearances.

As far as Jabari Parker, he chose Duke yesterday in a nationally-televised press conference in front of a packed gymnasium at Chicago Simeon. No chance he reverses course and comes to Illinois. And the Braggin' Rights game is still on. The world didn't end today, according to the Mayans, so tip is still set at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Dan A. — 01:18 PM on Fri, 12/21/2012

What's the Illini's involvement in recruiting Villanova transfer guard Tyrone Johnson?

Are all the 2013 class academically eligible for admittance to the U of I?


Matt Daniels (moderator) — 01:24 PM on Fri, 12/21/2012

Hey Dan A.,

Saw the rumors of Villanova guard Ty Johnson swirling around the Internet this morning. First I had heard of it, so I can't speak much about the situation. Johnson, a 6-foot-3-guard who was highly regarded coming out of Montrose Christian (Md.) School in the Class of 2011, played sparingly at Villanova his freshman year before announcing in early November he was seeking a transfer.

Illinois could always use more guards moving forward, so you'd have to think Johnson would pique the interest of Groce if he and his staff would want to try to land him. They've proven they don't have a problem accepting transfers with the addition of Sam McLaurin (Coastal Carolina) and Rayvonte Rice (Drake) since taking over.

As far as the five signees in Groce's Class of 2013, all indications are they are academically eligible to arrive at Illinois. We'll see if that changes, but for now, nothing out of the ordinary to report.

Tom Egelston — 01:24 PM on Fri, 12/21/2012

Matt,Coach Beckman set up an official vist for Cam Mammen for Jan 18. He set it up so he could attend and also wrestle the same week end. It has been hard on him and his family having to wait on Illinois to decide to offer him a scholarship and at the same time attend wrestling events which he is rated #1 at his weight class. He has now out on the radar after not getting much help from his coach.His coach should have gotten his info and tapes out the last 2 years but didn't so this year his father,myself ,Joe Thompson and other Ex.coahes friends of the family and coachinfg friends of mine have helped with other schools.He has official visits set up for the weekend after Illinois Visit. Getting calls and E-mail from Division1 -AA schools and Division 11 schools Have heard some schools are waiting to see what happens with Illinois. It would be great to have Cam at Illinois. I know the community would love to have a local athlete playing for the Illini.I know myself and at least 50 friends iI have talked with would attend games instead of TV. Great for community support and Illinois. Cam has done every thing asked of him this season to warrant a D #1 scholarship. I have known him and his family for 30 years. Cam has always done what it takes to be a winner. He plays with a lot of heart.He has always played from the start to finish of every game to his fullest. I believe the lack of getting his name an stats out a lot sooner has hurt with D#1 schools. On 3 All State Teams, Chicago Bears Player of the week in week 3,State Records and Local Records in the Book. Coach Beckman knows Cam and I believe he will do the right thing for Cam and the Illini Nation.

Matt Daniels (moderator) — 01:27 PM on Fri, 12/21/2012

Hey Tom,

Thanks for the info. Cameron Mammen will wind up somewhere playing college football. What position and where are the questions that will be answered in the next several weeks.

Illinois is definitely interested in him. It's just a matter of having enough scholarships available. Illinois has had success with local players in the past (Mikel Leshoure, J Leman, to name a few). Mammen could follow in those footsteps.

illinibrave — 01:28 PM on Fri, 12/21/2012


Jon Rothstein is reporting that Ty Johnson of Villanova is likely to transfer to either Illinois or South Carolina.  I have some questions I am hoping you can answer.  What have you heard about this situation?  When Would he be eligible to play?  Where is the scholarship coming from if he is eligible in 2013 or 2014?  How many years of eligibility does he have left?  What is the reason that he is leaving Villanova? 

Thank you for your insight,


Matt Daniels (moderator) — 01:32 PM on Fri, 12/21/2012

Hey illinibrave,

I saw reports about Johnson earlier today. I don't know too much about the situation right now, but if he does transfer in to Illinois in the next few months, he'd most likely be available either at the midway point of the 2013-14 season or at the start of the 2014-15 season. He'd have to sit out at least a year, according to NCAA transfer rules. As far as scholarships, there aren't any available right now. That said, it doesn't mean one wouldn't open up in the future.

I hadn't even really considered Illinois taking a transfer in the future, but it does make some sense after you think about. Groce brought in Sam McLaurin and Rayvonte Rice in his first few months on the job. Plus, if you bring in a transfer like Johnson, who was as highly-regarded coming out of high school as current junior guards like Larry Austin Jr., JaQuan Lyle and Kevin Zabo, Illinois targets, you could refocus your recruiting attention to the Class of 2015 since so many scholarships will be available for that class.

Chargers82 — 01:33 PM on Fri, 12/21/2012

Hi thanks for doing these chats, 

My question is about the 2013 football recruiting class as a whole, just from reading the player profiles and seeing the experts take on the class..the talent level seems pretty good (believe rivals had it in top 25 in nation), but we seem a little thin on incoming O-linemen that can play early minus their anyone they are still eyeing that could come in and compete early, or is there anyone thats on the current roster that is ready to possibly take a big step forward and really help get our O-line going in the right direction?

Thanks again.

Matt Daniels (moderator) — 01:39 PM on Fri, 12/21/2012

Hey Chargers82,

Thanks for asking questions. They make the chats possible.

Illinois has addressed needs in the defensive secondary and also picked up some recent wide receiver commits who could help that position group. As far as offensive linemen, you are right, it is a tad thin for a position that is so vital to a team's success.

If Illinois adds another junior college prospect in the next several weeks, I'd imagine it would come on the offensive line. High school seniors just aren't usually ready physically and mentally to handle the rigors of playing substantial minutes as true freshmen on the offensive line. Not saying it can't be done or hasn't been done, but the success rate is low. That's why most incoming freshmen offensive linemen are redshirted, although it will be interesting since the three offensive linemen coming out of high school in this class are all expected to enroll in classes for the second semester, giving them a leg up heading into the 2013 season.

As far as players on the current roster, Ted Karras, Simon Cvijanovic, Penn State transfer Ryan Nowicki, Joe Spencer, Scott McDowell and Robbie Bain are all offensive linemen who could see increased playing time and added expectations going into the 2013 season.

Trent from danville — 01:40 PM on Fri, 12/21/2012

hows it goin. I'm hearing rumors of a guard from villanova wanting to transfer to illinois or south carolina.  What are you hearing and do you have any info on the kid?  thanks


Matt Daniels (moderator) — 01:42 PM on Fri, 12/21/2012

Hey Trent from danville,

See above on Ty Johnson out of Villanova. Right now, not much is known, but it's a good indication if reports are out that he is only considering two schools that Illinois has got a pretty decent chance at possibly landing him. Again, though, the question comes to a numbers game in terms of scholarships. Right now, Illinois doesn't have another scholarship for anyone in the Class of 2014, and all five for the Class of 2013 are used. Those are the facts. But ... if John Groce and his staff want to bring in a player like Johnson, they'll find a way to make it happen. There are those keywords again. Find a way to make it happen.

WBBFan — 01:43 PM on Fri, 12/21/2012


You gave a nice breakdown of how the men's Basketball recruits are doing.

How about catching us up on how the women's Basketball recruits are doing?

Matt Daniels (moderator) — 01:46 PM on Fri, 12/21/2012

Hey WBBFan,

Thanks for reading and thanks for the suggestion. I'd never really thought about providing updates on how some women's basketball recruits and targets are doing, but I'll consider it. It's a nice break sometimes to delve out and check out how other Illinois sports are doing, but the main interest is in football and men's basketball recruiting.

When I took over the recruiting beat four months ago from my esteemed predecessors Cody Westerlund and Jeremy Warner, I wanted to expand it a bit just beyond football and men's basketball. I'll take your suggestion under consideration and look into providing future updates on some Illinois women's basketball recruits. A lot of it does come to time available in the day and also not skirting my duties as sports editor and assistant editor at the Rantoul Press, one of the weekly newspapers The News-Gazette owns.

Anonymous User — 01:47 PM on Fri, 12/21/2012

Do you think we will se any more 4 star football players this year.

How about another QB?  Seems like we could use someone else in this class.

Matt Daniels (moderator) — 01:51 PM on Fri, 12/21/2012

Hey Anonymous User,

I think the Class of 2013 football class is nearly wrapped up. Maybe one or two more commits, but I don't think there will be one that will make people rush in pandemonium to pick up season tickets for the 2013 season. Then again, if I'm wrong, I like my crow slightly seasoned.

As far as another quarterback, I doubt it, at least in the Class of 2013 and with Bolingbrook (Ill.) High School quarterback Aaron Bailey on board.

The way it's shaping up, one scenario that could play out is having Nathan Scheelhaase and Reilly O'Toole competing for the starting job for the 2013 season, red-shirt Bailey that season and then in 2014, have O'Toole as the starter and Bailey as the backup, grooming Bailey to potentially take over the team in the 2015 season. I wouldn't be surprised if two QBs come in the Class of 2014 just to provide some depth at the position moving forward.

These are all speculative scenarios, but hey, isn't that some of the fun with recruiting?


Matt Daniels (moderator) — 01:53 PM on Fri, 12/21/2012

Going to wrap up this week's chat now. Thanks for all the varied questions. Kept me on my toes. Hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season. I'll have another chat again on Friday, Jan. 4. Same time, same place. See you then!