Feb. 1 recruiting chat

Feb. 1 recruiting chat

Friday, February 1, 2013 - 1:00pm

Matt Daniels is amped up for next week's Signing Day. What should Illinois fans expect? Ask our recruiting guru, who chats at 1 p.m. Friday. Submit questions any time.

Matt Daniels wrote on February 01, 2013 at 12:02 pm
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Greetings everyone on a cold, yet sunny Friday afternoon from Champaign-Urbana. Matt Daniels joining you here for another weekly recruiting chat. I'll be around until about 2 p.m. today to answer any recruiting-related questions (or whatever else is on your mind).

Got a few questions already lined up, so let's get started.

Dave C. wrote on February 01, 2013 at 1:02 pm


What did you think of Nunn and Tate's play for Simeon last week and the National exposure (especially Saturday night) for the Illini Program?

Matt Daniels wrote on February 01, 2013 at 1:02 pm
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Hey Dave C,

Kendrick Nunn and Jaylon Tate from Chicago Simeon are continuing to look like solid pickups for the Illinois men's basketball program. Nunn is an aggressive defender who can make plays above the rim while also getting to the basket. Tate looks more comfortable with his role this season, and should continue to develop even more once he arrives at Illinois. While some people weren't happy with the pickup of Tate, especially after losing out on the Demetrius Jackson sweepstakes last September, Tate just might turn into a solid point guard who can contribute significantly during his time at Illinois. Then again, it's easy to write that now. We'll see if the same holds true a year or two down the road.

Simeon plays a monster schedule, logging plenty of miles in the air and hitting several different states throughout the season. They're almost like a college program, and when I talked to Tate on signing day last November, he essentially said the same thing.

Not sure what you mean by national exposure, but if I'm reading between the lines correctly, I think you're asking about Simeon playing on national TV. The Wolverines have been on an ESPN affiliate several times this season, which can't hurt Illinois from a recruiting standpoint when the announcers mention several times during the broadcast that Nunn and Tate are going to Illinois. Fellow recruits and other high school players across the country are most likely watching these games, so getting the Illinois name out certainly can't hurt.

Marcus wrote on February 01, 2013 at 1:02 pm



What is the actual number of recruits that Beckman & staff will bring in?



Matt Daniels wrote on February 01, 2013 at 1:02 pm
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Hey Marcus,

Illinois so far (and again, this is a fluid number, especially with all the comings and goings in the month of January involving the Class of 2013 for Illinois football) has 26 players in the Class of 2013. Ten are already on campus and have signed letters of intent, so that leaves 16 players that will (and the Illinois coaches are probably crossing their fingers that all 16 follow through) sign letters of intent next Wednesday. Reggie Spearman, a linebacker from Chicago Simeon who verbally commited in early August, is up in the air, still, with several schools (Iowa, Minnesota, Syracuse) still in play for him. He doesn't help matters for any Illinois fans concerned (or not concerned, maybe just more perplexed) with his Twitter feed, where he is remaining coy about where he might end up. Expect a decision from Spearman on Wednesday just before he signs (a la when Simeon classmate Jabari Parker gave a verbal commitment to Duke last month).

Side note on the use of Twitter and high school recruits these days. It's pretty much the thing to do, which can lend itself to all sorts of speculation and interest on where a high school player might go. Whether that's right or wrong depends on your perspective.  

Back to your original question, Marcus. I wouldn't be surprised if Illinois adds one or two more players in the Class of 2013. Illinois did help itself out by landing defensive end Paul James from Miami Norland on Wednesday, and his verbal might give Illinois some credence with a few recruits who might be leaning one way or another with less than a week before signing day.

dennis bialas wrote on February 01, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Will Spearman stay with the Illini? Anyone else in danger of flipping? Do you think we will get any other new surprise commits? Any word on  how the Junior Day went, or how recruiting for 2014 is going? Great articles by Lemming this week. Sounds like he shares feelings of a lot of Illini fans, that with the advantages we have ( great academics, facilities, and relatively close and talented recruiting areas) we should win more. My dad always said first 45 years of his life Illinois was pretty good, last 40 years very underachieving? With those things in our favor we should win probably win 8-10 games and go bowling annually. What do you think about that?

Matt Daniels wrote on February 01, 2013 at 1:02 pm
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Hey Dennis,

Thanks for the multiple questions. I'll try to break them down separately.

I'm going to go out on a limb here (and if I'm wrong, feel free to point back to this), but I think Reggie Spearman stays with Illinois when he signs next week. Illinois has a great tradition of linebackers, and it's clear based on how Mason Monheim and Mike Svetina played last year as true freshmen that Spearman could come in and possibly make a mark in his first season.

As far as anyone else flipping, not that I've heard. Of course, even the coaches aren't quite sure all the verbal commitments they have will land until the fax machine starts whirring next Wednesday morning.

For other surprise commits, if Illinois does, I don't think they'll be of the magnitue of getting Paul James from Miami Norland. Florida is one of the two best states for high school football (along with Texas), and being able to land in players and bring them up north to Champaign-Urbana should be a boost.

Junior Day weekend went well for Illinois. They had 30 prospects in attendance at Sunday's Illinois-Michigan basketball game, and nearly 200 prospects on campus during the weekend. Several offers were extended to players who Illinois was interested in, but had not extended offers to. I'll try and work on updates about who all was there and who has some new offers in the weeks ahead.

Tom Lemming was gracious with his time and easy to talk to. It sounded like he was in an airport terminal when I talked to him with all the background noise going on, but he had good insight.

I remember growing up watching Illinois games (first memory was Illinois playing Clemson in the 1991 Hall of Fame Bowl) and thought that they always should be playing in bowl games on a consistent basis, although my early childhood years consisted of some poor teams to watch.

One point Lemming touched on when I talked to him was about the pretty steady of turnover by coaches. It seems Illinois has had identities in the past, but with coaches seemingly only staying at Illinois for maybe 6-7 years, the whole philosophies of the program, including recruiting, seem to change with every new coach that comes in. Just my two cents.

RonC wrote on February 01, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Matt, what's your take on the whole Jaquen Lyle is close to commiting to Illinois talk?

Matt Daniels wrote on February 01, 2013 at 1:02 pm
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Hey RonC,

Talked to Lyle's head coach at Evansville Bosse (Ind.) High School, Shane Burkhart, briefly yesterday. He said all reports of Lyle commiting to any school, Illnois, Louisville or anyone else for that matter, were premature. I believe him.

Lyle, while obviously a talented player, seems to have his head on pretty straight when it comes to the recruiting process. I wouldn't expect a decision until at least next fall. Like Burkhart told me yesterday, doesn't mean that Lyle might not trim his list of 10 schools down to five before then. The plan is to have him whittle it down to five schools before his senior year arrives and then take official visits to each school.

He seemed to enjoy his visit to Illinois, plus the Orange Krush chanted his name late in the second half. He's a do-everything guard, but look at the history of Illinois men's basketball landing a prospect from Indiana (hardly ever), and it probably doesn't make many long-time Illinois fans think they have a chance with Lyle. The next key step for Illinois when it concerns Lyle is to make that top five list of schools. I know when I talked to Burkhart in early January, Duke, UCLA, Florida and Arizona were contacting him about Lyle. He hadn't heard much from Illinois coach John Groce at that point. A few weeks later, Groce was at one of Lyle's games.


Jeremy lindhorst wrote on February 01, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Hey Matt, love the chats .Is there any point gards out there in the up coming class's with that Dee Brown speed we loved to watch if so are we recruting him ? . Thanks


Matt Daniels wrote on February 01, 2013 at 1:02 pm
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Hey Jeremy,

Thanks for the question. As far as point guards with that pure speed, certainly they're out there. Just not sure they'd wind up with Illinois at this point.

Larry Austin Jr. from Springfield Lanphier is an attacking point guard who can get to the rim at will, but not sure he could beat Dee Brown in a timed 40-yard dash. Tyler Ulis from Marian Catholic is a junior point guard other Big Ten schools are keying in on (Michigan State's Tom Izzo checked him out in person this week), but who Illinois hasn't gone completely in on. Ulis doesn't have the speed of Brown, but is easily among the top five point guard prospects in the state and possibly the Midwest.

The athleticism of the college game is even greater than it was a decade ago, but doesn't necessarily mean a jet-quick point guard is a program-changer. Trey Burke from Michigan will obviously get drafted next June (if he chooses to enter the NBA Draft, which is almost a no-brainer after his solid sophomore campaign), but he doesn't exactly blow you away with his speed.

Hyron Edwards is a Class of 2015 point guard from East Chicago, Ind., that Illinois is after. He's one to keep an eye on in terms of speed. Other than that, the quick as lightning point guards are either taken by other schools or considering other schools at this point.



Matt Daniels wrote on February 01, 2013 at 1:02 pm
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Thanks for all the questions this week. Signing off the chat for now. I'll be back at the same time (1 p.m.), same place (www.illinihq.com) next week for another chat.

Have a great weekend everyone!