Jan. 11 recruiting chat

Jan. 11 recruiting chat

Friday, January 11, 2013 - 1:00pm

What are the odds JaQuan Lyle ends up at Illinois? Is Tim Beckman in good shape for Signing Day? How good is Michael Finke? Ask recruiting blogger Matt Daniels, who is chatting at 1 p.m. Friday. Submit questions any time.

Matt Daniels wrote on January 11, 2013 at 1:01 pm
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Happy Friday afternoon everyone. Matt Daniels here to answer any recruiting questions you might have for the next hour.

Signing day for football is less than a month away and Illinois men's basketball received a boost with Evansville Bosse (Ind.) High School point guard JaQuan Lyle, a top 20 prospect in the Class of 2014, announcing this week he would attend the Illinois-Michigan game on Jan. 27.

Let's get it going.

Potato_Head wrote on January 11, 2013 at 1:01 pm

I know its a typical question, but who looks to be the leaders for Cliff Alexander and Okafor? Any idea when they announce their decision or narrow down their list? Was Groce in contact with them at all while at Ohio? Besides Nunn, is Groce recruiting any player that he was recruiting to Ohio?

Matt Daniels wrote on January 11, 2013 at 1:01 pm
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Hey Potato_Head,
Any and all questions are welcome. No such thing as a bad question.

With Cliff Alexander, Michigan State is the team others will have to chase. Tom Izzo has gotten a nice head start on the recruitment of the big man from Chicago Curie. When Izzo typically has the lead on a prospect, he is known to finish. Illinois is most likely in the second tier of schools Alexander is considering.

For Okafor, he's kind of leaving his recruitment open at this point. The Chicago Whitney Young center could pretty much go to any Division I school in the country that he would want to at this point. I wouldn't be shocked if Kentucky came in and swooped him out of the city. Just a hunch.

I'm not real sure on the timetable for those two, but I'd imagine they'd most likely make it next fall in what will most likely be a televised special for the two premier post players in the Class of 2014.

John Groce's relationship with Kendrick Nunn while he was the coach at Ohio played a role in Nunn landing at Illinois. I know there's a sophomore from the Buckeye State, Carlton Bragg, that the staff has kept tabs on from their days at Ohio, and that connection might help them out in what will be a large Class of 2015.

NinjaTurtle wrote on January 11, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Do you feel Tim Beckman's class is really a top 30 class, or simply that high because of the large number of players currently commited? It seems there are only a handful of players that received offers from other large D1 schools, which leaves some question marks in regards to how well they perform in the B10.


Also, are any of the current commits wavering towards another school?


Thanks

Matt Daniels wrote on January 11, 2013 at 1:01 pm
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Hey NinjaTurtle,

Great name by the way. Huge fan of the show growing up. I was actually Leonardo for Halloween when I was 4. But moving on to your question ...

I think having quarterback Aaron Bailey and wide receiver/defensive back Caleb Day in the mix makes it a top 30 class. Plus, the number of commits he does have, along with the five JUCO signees, doesn't hurt Illinois from a pure rankings standpoint. We'll have to wait and see whether that translates into on the field success down the road.

There are several players in the class whose highest offer — in terms of a conference viewpoint because several schools that have offered these players, like Toledo, Northern Illinois and more did go to bowl games this year — is from Illinois. You could look at it in two lights. One is that the players aren't good enough to play in the Big Ten since they didn't have many other offers from Big Ten schools, like Bailey and Day did. The other way you could view the situation is Illinois coaches got in on them early and offered before other schools had the chance, too.

However you view the situation is up to you. I know, in the instance of one commit, tight end Tyler White (Plainwell, Mich.) who could possibly find playing time as a defensive end at Illinois, he was on the verge of possibly getting offers from a few other Big Ten schools before he gave a verbal to Illinois in early October. 

As far as commits wavering, the two names that come up the most are defensive back Joshua Jones from Walled Lake, Mich., and linebacker Reggie Spearman from Chicago Simeon. Jones has Michigan State ramping up interest in him while Spearman is being coy with his decision, telling Rivals.com he'll wait until signing day to make his intentions known publicly.

EA Sports wrote on January 11, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Hi Matt -


What effect do you think the loss of Coach Beatty and Coach Butkus will have on the recruiting class?


Are there specific recruits that may be at risk due to these departures?


Thanks as always for the information you provide,


EA

Matt Daniels wrote on January 11, 2013 at 1:01 pm
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Hey EA Sports,

I know Aaron Bailey, the quarterback from Bolingbrook who is a large reason why Illinois' Class of 2013 is regarded well nationally, talked to Chris Beatty on a weekly basis during the season, but I don't believe his departure will have an adverse effect on Bailey. Recruits are smart these days. They understand that college football is a cut-throat business for coaches, and if schools don't win, changes will take place in the coaching staff.

As far as Luke Butkus leaving to join his old coach Ron Turner at Florida International, I don't think it helps Illinois in terms of recruiting. The Butkus name can appeal to any family member of a propsect no matter what the state given the family's legacy. Butkus helped secure some of the JUCO signees that came on board in December plus he was making inroads up in the Chicago suburbs, an area Illinois desperately needs to control.

Illini1973 wrote on January 11, 2013 at 1:01 pm
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With Kelly talking to the NFL, do we have a chance with any of his recruits?

Matt Daniels wrote on January 11, 2013 at 1:01 pm
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Hey Illini1973,

I would be heavily surprised if any Notre Dame recruits back out and consider Illinois if Brian Kelly does depart for the NFL. Heavily surprised.

If Kelly does leave Notre Dame, I would not be surprised if some of his recruits decide to go elsewhere, but I don't believe Illinois will be at the top of their list. They're going to Notre Dame to win right now. Illinois isn't in the same boat. They might win, but I don't think anyone is confident saying that will transpire in 2013.

illinibrave wrote on January 11, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Matt,


I'm sure that the coaching staff knows more than the rest of us when it comes to the possibility of players transferring, but what do they tell 2014 recruits that they are still recruiting? Since they have one commitment already and only one scholarship available!


Thanks for yor insight!


illinibrave

illinibrave wrote on January 11, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Matt,


With currently 6 scholarships available and more time to build relationships with the kids in the class of 2015, do you think that we could see the best recruiting class in Illinois history by John Groce and his staff?  (Dare I dream!)  And if you had to guess, which recruit do you feel the most confident saying you think will be a future Illini from the class of 2015? (I understand this is just an opinion.)


Thanks,


illinibrave

Matt Daniels wrote on January 11, 2013 at 1:01 pm
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Hey illinibrave,

It's OK to dream big about the Class of 2015 right now. It's still two years away. As far as what they tell recruits they're still working on with the Class of 2014, that's an interesting point to bring up. John Groce and his staff have a better idea of what their players want to do and what they are expecting out of their current roster than anyone else.

The Class of 2015 will certainly have plenty of open scholarships, unlike the Class of 2014. Six scholarships will be available, based on the current roster, for the Class of 2015, with Devin Langford the only one on the current roster who would be around.

If I had to guess, I think the Class of 2015 will look similar to what the Class of 2013 did for Groce. He'll try to nab two or three premier players from the state (think Charles Matthews or D.J. Williams) and then two or three from out of state (Carlton Bragg from Ohio and Hyron Edwards from East Chicago, Ind., are two to keep an eye on). Again, plenty can change between now and 2015.

Dave C. wrote on January 11, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Matt,


If the Illini are able to find a scholarship, which of the 2014 5 star recruits are we in the best shape with?

Matt Daniels wrote on January 11, 2013 at 1:01 pm
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Hey Dave C.,

Key part of that question is if Illinois is able to find a scholarship. Which I think they will. How that scholarship comes about will be interesting to see play out.

Jahlil Okafor and Cliff Alexander are five-star recruits Illinois is interested in, along with JaQuan Lyle from Indiana. It's a good sign Lyle will get a chance to watch Illinois in person at the Michigan game on Jan. 27. He can see for himself what the game-day atmosphere is like and how he thinks he might fit in to Illinois' offense.

One key development for Illinois that has transpired since the Missouri game three weeks ago is what direction John Groce and his coaching staff might want to go in the future. Yes, a dynamic, play-making and high-scoring point guard (read, Lyle) is a priority. But with the way Illinois has had difficulty rebounding the ball, and with Michael Finke still needing time to grow into his body before it's safe to say he can make an impact defensively in the Big Ten, do Groce and his staff want to shore up some frontline concerns? Bringing in Austin Colbert and Maverick Morgan with the Class of 2013 might ease some of those concerns by the time any Class of 2014 player arrives on campus.

Lyle would be a huge, huge get for Illinois considering it has never had much success luring Indiana prep players to campus, plus Lyle has seemingly all the intangibles and skills Groce desires in a point guard.

RealOldIllini wrote on January 11, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Now that Beckman has two coaching vacancies, how soon do you think he will fill them?  Also, do you anticipate more assistant coaching vacancies?  Am I wrong to assume that the late vacancies will set back recruiting?

Matt Daniels wrote on January 11, 2013 at 1:01 pm
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Hey RealOldIllini,

As with any vacany, the sooner you fill it, the better. My best guess is he'll have those positions filled by early February, which will help in terms of recruiting since National Signing Day is Feb. 6.

With the season Illinois is coming off in 2012, shakeup on the staff was pretty much a given. I don't think there will be much more moving forward, but if one or two assistants get a chance to either move to a higher program or improve their job title, I think they would.

The departure of Luke Butkus might play a role with recruiting, mainly with the Class of 2014. The Class of 2013 is pretty much set, but Illinois coaches will still anxiously await the arrival of the letter of intents from those players on Feb. 6. How Illinois operates it's football recruiting — much like every Division I football program — is they assign each coach to a certain geographic area, mainly ones they are familiar with. Butkus played a part in helping Illinois try to recruit the Chicago suburbs, an area the Class of 2013 isn't strong with, but an area Illinois will need to lock down in the future. Most of the top players in the state are north of Interstate 80, and losing them to out-of-state schools doesn't bode well for the program.

dennis bialas wrote on January 11, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Now that Luke Butkus is leaving, what effect do you think that will have on future Illini recruits? Alot was made that he would be instrumental in recruiting the Chicago area. Who will fill his shoes there? Think its pretty obvious that Illinois recruiting doesn't get better without them getting their fair share from these areas. Also read an article that next years class will be good again in Illinois. In your opinion will we be able to get our fair share?

Matt Daniels wrote on January 11, 2013 at 1:01 pm
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Hey Dennis,

From a perception standpoint, the departure of Butkus I don't think helps out Tim Beckman's program. Butkus grew up an Illinois fan, he played at Illinois and seemed excited about getting the chance to coach at Illinois. He'll have more responsibility at Florida International plus he has a built-in relationship with Ron Turner down there, but it has to make Illinois fans wonder. Just a little bit at least.

As far as the Chicago suburbs area, it's a collective push by the entire staff to make their presence known there. It will have to increase now with the departure of Butkus.

It's great to lure in players from Texas and Florida with regularity as those two states, along with California, usually produce a large chunk of Division I football players. But if you don't snare the top players from a state like Illinois, which isn't great, but certainly isn't bad in terms of high school football talent, it won't help recruiting. It's always nice to establish a pipeline like Ron Zook did using Mike Locksley's connections to the Washington, D.C., area, and it seems Ohio is being made more of a priority with Beckman in charge.

Illinois always does seem to get a fair share of in-state players in each recruiting class. The key though, is making sure the players they get are among the state's best. Recently, it seems those players are wanting to take their talents elsewhere.

Matt Daniels wrote on January 11, 2013 at 1:01 pm
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Going to wrap up the chat for this week. Thanks for all the questions and the interest. I'll be back at 1 p.m. next Friday to tackle more questions.

Have a great weekend!