July 5 recruiting chat

Friday, July 5, 2013 - 1:00pm

Lunt. Domer. Who's next? Ask recruiting blogger Matt Daniels about Tim Beckman's surge during his weekly chat. Submit questions of any kind at any time and Matt will do his best to respond during his 1 p.m. Friday give-and-take.

Matt Daniels (moderator) — 01:01 PM on Fri, 07/05/2013

Hope everyone is enjoying their Friday after Thursday's Fourth of July festivities. Matt Daniels here for the next hour or so to answer any recruiting-related topics you might want to broach. The recruiting world never stops, even for our country's birthday. Two commits yesterday, albeit not to either Tim Beckman or John Groce's program, from Illinois prep athletes are ones to take note of. 

Danville defensive back Trent Sherfield committed to Vanderbilt. He had an Illinois offer. And in men's basketball, Chicago St. Rita small forward Vic Law gave Chris Collins his first noteworthy commit at Northwestern. Law also had an Illinois offer, among others.

But Beckman landed a solid commit earlier this week in running back Matt Domer from Chicago Mt. Carmel, the eighth prep player to choose Illinois in the Class of 2014 while July evaluations will start soon for Groce and his staff.

Let's get started with the questions.

BrianA — 01:01 PM on Fri, 07/05/2013

For both you and Marcus


with Portland several big men to the roster how does that affect Myers potential there? Think a new team is in order?

Matt Daniels (moderator) — 01:05 PM on Fri, 07/05/2013

Hey BrianA,

Meyers Leonard had a decent first season in the NBA with the Trail Blazers. The Robinson native averaged 5.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 17.5 minuts per game while playing 69 games. He showed off his athleticism at times with some breath-taking dunks, but still needs to develop his game. It's to be expected. If he wasn't coming off his rookie season in the NBA, you can bet John Groce would love to have a senior post player with the skill set Leonard has for the 2013-14 season.

Portland did draft Kansas center Jeff Withey in this year's draft, but Withey has a less limited offensive game than Leonard. Withey is certainly impressive defensively, though. I'd imagine Leonard should see more of a role in his second season with Portland, and if his development continues, he could have a more prominent role with Portland.

Anonymous User — 01:05 PM on Fri, 07/05/2013

What the word on Jalen Brunson visit? Also what do you think about the rumor of cliff and Okafor leaning towards illinois


Matt Daniels (moderator) — 01:10 PM on Fri, 07/05/2013

Hey anonymous,

Jalen Brunson's visit went about as expected. It went well. Rarely do you hear recruits complain or gripe (at least publicly) about their visits. All indications are that the Stevenson point guard and top Class of 2015 point guard is in a good place with Illinois. His offer list has expanded to 11 schools, with Illinois, Connecticut, Creighton, DePaul, Oklahoma State, Purdue, SMU, Temple, Tulsa, Virginia and Xavier all in pursuit. And many more will come.

A superb sophomore season which saw Brunson lead his Patriots to a Class 4A state runner-up finish in Illinois, along with a productive spring performance on the AAU circuit, has certainly made Brunson attrat attention from some of the elite programs in the country. He will continue to do so. Premier point guards are highly coveted by college coaches, as they should be.

In regards to the rumor of Jahlil Okafor and Cliff Alexander both coming here, I write it off as just that. A rumor. One of many that spread throughout the recruiting world. I'll believe it when I see it.

M. Hatter — 01:11 PM on Fri, 07/05/2013

So if Alexander picks Illinois, does he start from day 1; is he that good?  I assume other recruits would want to play with him so that his commit helps recruiting but what if he is a one and done type player?

Matt Daniels (moderator) — 01:15 PM on Fri, 07/05/2013

Hey M. Hatter,

If Cliff Alexander picks Illinois, count on him starting the 2014-15 season opener. He's that good. The Chicago Curie power forward is dominant around the rim and has expanded his game by showcasing a decent mid-range touch away from the rim.

If you land a player like Alexander, widely regarded as a top-five player in the Class of 2014, it immensely helps recruiting efforts. It lets other high-caliber players know Illinois is a school to pay attention to. A lot of recruiting is perception, and the perception of John Groce landing a five-star talent like Cliff Alexander could spark other similar players to consider coming to Champaign-Urbana.

Don't expect Alexander to stay long in college if he continues to thrive. If he does decide on Illinois and is only a one-and-done player, I don't think that necessarily hurts the program. The reason it is brought up often is Illinois has never really faced that situation. Jereme Richmond doesn't count, either. He had many other issues away from the court that plagued his talent. If you ask Kentucky fans, I'm sure they have no ill will towards Anthony Davis and Co. after those freshmen led the Wildcats to the 2012 national title.

rickybing — 01:15 PM on Fri, 07/05/2013

Hi matt daniels love these chats iv been a reader for quite a while now and this is my first time getting involved my question is with all the depth at quarterback with lunt and bailey coming in do you think this could be a problem going forward do you think bailey could wind up playing reciever or running back i think he could really be a big time playmaker i just dont think he has the kind of arm for cubits system what are your thought?

Matt Daniels (moderator) — 01:20 PM on Fri, 07/05/2013

Hey Ricky,

Football coaches always love to have competition at spots. Injuries happen all the time in football. I remember when I covered the Eastern Illinois football team in 2006 for the student paper at EIU and I asked coaching legend Bob Spoo about his running back situation. He had four quality running backs who had all been productive when they had seen the field.

"It's a good problem to have," Spoo said.

The "good problem," actually became a problem a few weeks later when injuries hindered three of the four and EIU only had one reliable back to play. That's just an example.

But back to Wes Lunt and Aaron Bailey. Lunt will have every opportunity to win the starting quarterback job at Illinois in 2014. Same for Aaron Bailey. And Reilly O'Toole. The possibility of Bailey switching positions (yes, Lunt has a better arm than Bailey) is premature right now. Injuries could happen to Nathan Scheelhaase and O'Toole this season, thrusting Bailey into a prominent role. Who knows what can happen. Just think back to last summer. Probably only Texas A&M fans had heard of Johnny Manziel. Now every college football fan in the country knows who he is.

Anonymous User — 01:20 PM on Fri, 07/05/2013

Any chance we will be getting interest from any big lineman on either side of the ball? Or with Cubit"s and Lunt's presence any good WR in the upcoming class? What are are our realistic chances of getting a commit out of Hendrix th DL out of East St Louis or Nyles Morgan the LB? Seems like if we could get a couple of those guys to commit we maybe could start the ball rolling with others in the future!? Also seems like it would be good to get locked into some of the power programs who send alot of talent to college like Crete Monee.

Matt Daniels (moderator) — 01:32 PM on Fri, 07/05/2013

Hey anonymous,

Lots of questions there, which is fine by me. I'll try to break them down separately.

Illinois has one defensive lineman and one offensive lineman so far in the Class of 2014. Tito Odenigbo from Centerville (Ohio) is a defensive end who his high school coach thinks could bulk up to be an effective defensive tackle in college. Nick Allegretti from Lincoln-Way East is a center who comes from a superb program in the Chicago suburbs. That's it, for now, on linemen commits with the Class of 2014.

Two other offensive linemen, both from Illinois and both from Chicago or one of its suburbs, to keep an eye on in the Class of 2014 are Aaron Roberts and Brendan Brosnan. Roberts is a guard from Chicago De La Salle who has narrowed his list down to Syracuse and Illinois.

Brosnan is a tackle from a very solid program in Maine South, and has a plethora of offers. Most of the Mid-American Conference schools have extended offers to Brosnan, while Illinois, Vanderbilt and Virginia Tech have done so as well.

As far as wide receivers, Illinois already has two wide receivers committed to the Class of 2014. Neuqua Valley's Mike Dudek is a play-maker with the ball in his hands and while injuries have limited Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin's Malik Turner so far, Turner has a big body and comes from a program that likes to throw the ball.

With Dewayne Hendrix, the defensive end from O'Fallon, I don't think Illinois' chances are particularly good. Even with one of his former high school teammates, cornerback Darius Mosely, expected to contribute this fall for Illinois. Hendrix has a boatload of SEC offers, and I would anticipate him landing at one of those schools. Same goes for Nyles Morgan, the linebacker from Crete-Monee. I believe his offer list is somewhere around the 30-school range. Illinois is still in somewhat of a decent position with Morgan, but I'd expect him to head well south of Champaign-Urbana for his college career.

Crete-Monee did have quite a successful year last fall, winning a Class 6A state title and producing the country's top wide receiver in Laquon Treadwell. But programs like Chicago Mt. Carmel (where the most recent Illinois commit in running back Matt Domer hails from), Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin and Lincoln-Way East are some of the more prestigious programs in Illinois. It seems Tim Beckman and his staff have done a good job of integrating themselves with the high school coaches in the state. But a 2-10 record won't help draw the elite players in the state. Start winning and the bigger-name recruits will start to follow.

Matt Daniels (moderator) — 01:41 PM on Fri, 07/05/2013

Going to wrap up this week's chat. Thanks for all the questions and the interest. We should be back at the same time and same place next week. Have a good weekend everyone!