White, Okafor, Lyle ... do the Illini have a chance with any of them? What's the scholarship grid looking like? Any news about football? Ask recruiting blogger Matt Daniels, who chats at 1 p.m. each Friday. Submit questions any time.
Greetings everyone on this sunny yet cold Friday afternoon. Welcome to our first recruiting chat of 2013. Matt Daniels here for the next hour to discuss all recruiting related items you have on your mind.
Let's get started.
It's been reported in print down here that 7' Soph JUCO AA Canadian Keanau Post at SWIC has narrowed his list down to IL, Missery and Georgetown with the signing period coming in April. So what have you heard and who might be leaving the program to make room should he select IL?
Hey Chief1973,Hope everything is going well in the Metro East area outside St. Louis. Keanau Post is a legitimate post player who could come in and provide help in an area that's becoming a glaring weakness for Illinois: rebounding.Of the three schools the center at Southwestern Illinois College has narrowed it down to, Illinois, for scholarship reasons at this point, wouldn't stand in my mind as his top choice just because — and again, this is as we speak here on Jan. 4 — Illinois doesn't have an available scholarship to give for its Class of 2013. All the slots are full, which will bring out speculation that players who are on scholarship but not seeing much playing time currently could wind up transferring or leaving the program.I'd imagine by the time Post — who's originally from Canada, so it wouldn't surprise me if he selected Georgetown because travel and location probably doesn't mean much — comes to a decision in April, the Illinois scholarship situation issue might have a more clear answer, which could play a factor if he winds up choosing Illinois.
The "weekend wrap" keeps the fans excited and informed about the incoming recruits and the prospects. Can you give us some insight on the strength of the competition these recruits are facing? How good are the teams/leagues that these kids are playing against/in? Can you relate the level of competion to the class system here in Illinois. Maverick Morgan seems to be putting up large numbers but is this against "small school' competition? Is he playing against players of similar size? Malcolm Hill is also showing very well...into what class do the Lancers fall? Will any of the incoming recruits be impact players or at least be ready to push for major minutes once they arrive on campus?
Hey Chief Forever,Thanks for reading and give thanks to my predecessors Cody Westerlund and Jeremy Werner for coming up with the Weekend Wrap idea. I'm just trying not to stumble too much following them.Of the five recruits Illinois has signed for the Class of 2013, they're seeing legitimate competition. Malcolm Hill of Belleville East High School and Chicago Simeon guards Kendrick Nunn and Jaylon Tate are seeing the best the state — and in the case of Nunn and Tate, the country — has to offer as far as competition. All three schools are in Class 4A in Illinois, the class that has the schools with the highest enrollment.Austin Colbert, who is set to become eligible this month at Gill St. Bernard's School in New Jersey, and the Knights face stiff competition in New Jersey as well. The Knights are seeing some of the best teams in New Jersey and other parts of the East Coast this season.Maverick Morgan isn't putting up the numbers he has (24.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.0 blocks) against 5-foot-11 post players and against small schools. When I talked to Springboro's interim head coach Jay Byrne a few weeks ago, he said Springboro sees 6-5, 6-6 post players almost on a nightly basis, and will get a test soon when they go up against Quality Education Academy out of North Carolina, which has at least five players who are 6-7 and above. Plus, Springboro is a bigger school in the suburbs of Dayton, Ohio, that is going against similar-sized schools throughout the season. Springboro, which is 8-2, is in Ohio's Division I, which has the biggest high schools in the state.Of the five recruits in John Groce's first recruiting class at Illinois, I'd imagine Hill and Nunn have the best chance to work their way into the rotation. Hill can score from anywhere inside the halfcourt line while Nunn has the athleticism and toughness to match up well with older players. Tate may need some time to develop, but I wouldn't be shocked if he saw spot minutes here and there. It's always tougher for incoming freshmen post players to make an immediate impact in their true freshmen season, but with the rebounding woes Illinois has displayed at times this year, Morgan and Colbert might find themselves on the court sooner than expected.
Do you expect any surprise signings for Ilini FB on signing day? Zook did this with once or twice. What are the chances of landing Josh Augusta? Can you give me five in-state players the Illini have a good chance at for 2014? Also what positions do you see us going heavy for in 2014?
Hey Dennis,Let me rattle my brain for a bit to think back to football recruiting. Been focusing primarily on hoops and the holidays the past two weeks.Illinois might still land one or two more players before signing day arrives on Feb. 6. Right now the Class of 2013 is at 25, which, usually signals the end of a class since NCAA-mandated scholarship limits are set at 25, but since Illinois didn't use all those scholarships in last year's class, they have a few more they can give out this year if they so choose to.As far as Augusta, the Peoria Central (Ill.) High School defensive lineman is still weighing his options. It looks like it'll come down to Illinois, Missouri and Michigan State. I'd say Missouri is the front-runner, with Michigan State behind and Illinois trying to make up ground. Illinois addressed some of its need at defensive tackle with the mid-December signing of JUCO prospect Abe Cajuste, so we'll see if that has an affect on Augusta's decision.As far as five in-state players for the Class of 2014, I'd go with Wheaton North High School quarterback Clayton Thorson, offensive lineman Nick Allegretti from Lincoln-Way East High School, defensive lineman Enoch Smith from Chicago Mt. Carmel, O'Fallon defensive end Dewayne Hendrix and Stevenson defensive back Matt Morrisey. Just an early hunch with those at this point as their recruiting will pick up even more in the next 12 months.With the position groups for the Class of 2014, you can never go wrong with adding offensive linemen. The defensive secondary appears pretty set with the number of 2013 commits, so I'd have to think linebacker would be an area on defense. I wouldn't be surprised if more than one quarterback was plucked from this group as well.
Heard rumors about possible transfers with either Shaw or Ibby. Heard they're happy at Illinois but not with playing time. Any truth to this? And do we have any chance at all with Lyle?
In regards to Mike Shaw and Ibby, that'd be a better question for our Illinois beat writer Marcus Jackson. He chats every Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. On paper, if you just look at the number of minutes, plus the current scholarship bind Illinois is in for the Class of 2014, they would be the first two names people might speculate about transferring.
As far as JaQuan Lyle, the dynamic point guard from Evansville, Ind., I'd put Illinois on the outside looking in. Historically, Illinois has never fared well recruiting players from Indiana, although John Groce might have an advantage against previous Illinois coaches since he's from the state. If Illinois continues to win at the rate they're on and win a few games in the NCAA Tournament, I'd have to think that would increase Lyle's chances with Illinois. His head coach, Shane Burkhart, told me this week Lyle will try to narrow it down to five schools before his senior year at Bosse High School begins, and then take official visits. If Illinois finds its way onto that list, they've won half the recruiting battle right there.
Hi Matt -
No question today, just a comment. You are really a fantastic writer and I enjoy reading your material. Keep up the great work and have a great 2013! All the best,
Hey Mike 123456789,
Here's the $20 I promised you for submitting this. Kidding!
Thanks for the kind words and thanks for reading. I'm only as good as my last story.
Going to wrap up this week's chat. Thanks for all the questions. I'll be back next week, same time, same place.
Enjoy the weekend!