UI football/recruiting chat

UI football/recruiting chat

Friday, May 30, 2014 - 1:00pm

Illinois football will begin summer workouts in roughly 10 days. What else is on Tim Beckman's agenda? How's recruiting going? Anything is fair game in Matt Daniels' weekly give-and-take. Feel free to submit questions ahead of time.

Matt Daniels wrote on May 30, 2014 at 1:05 pm
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Welcome to another weekly chat here on HQ. Matt Daniels here for about the next half hour or so. Look for lots of Illinois football coverage in Sunday's News-Gazette.

Ty Isaac visited Illinois yesterday. The former Joliet Catholic standout running back is strongly considering the Illini, especially since it's close to home.

Plenty of Isaac questions on the slate today, so let's get the chat started.

dc1 wrote on May 30, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Matt,

What's the latest on Ty Isaac?

Matt Daniels wrote on May 30, 2014 at 1:05 pm
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Hey dc1,

The latest on Isaac is that he was in Champaign yesterday for a visit with the Illinois coaches. It went well (as most visits do).

Reports are out that Isaac will visit Michigan next week. Obviously the appeal of playing at Michigan is a strong one an elite talent like Isaac will take into consideration, but the fact that Illinois is close to Isaac's home in Shorewood could help out the Illini.

Isaac's mother has some health issues, a key reason why the running back wanted to transfer from USC. If he transfers to Illinois, he could seek a waiver that would allow him to play in the 2014 season and not have to sit out a season because it would be within 100 miles. If he decides on Michigan, chances are he'd have to sit out a season becaues of transfer rules.

 

Anonymous User wrote on May 30, 2014 at 1:05 pm

If Ty Isaac does transfer to the Illini, would he be eligible to play this upcoming season??  Just read a Michigan article saying that he would have to sit out a year because Ann Arbor is obviously out of the 100 mile radius, per NCAA hardship guidelines, from his Shorewood family home. 

Matt Daniels wrote on May 30, 2014 at 1:05 pm
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Hey anonymous,

Answered this a bit in above question.

Yes, if Isaac were to choose to transfer to Illinois, all signs indicate he would be eligible to play immediately since it would just fall in line with the 100-mile radius.

Although, as was the case last summer with the Ahmad Starks waiver case, you never know what to expect when the NCAA gets involved in rulings like this.

Ty Issac wrote on May 30, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Can you do me a big favor and just stop responding to the "what are the chances Player X comes to IL".  They are so pointless and tiresome that I cannot believe any informed fan asks them.  Either that or just respond "100% he is coming here" every time and see what happens.

 

 

Matt Daniels wrote on May 30, 2014 at 1:05 pm
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Hey Ty Issac,

Can you tell me where you're going to transfer to? Just kidding.

Thanks for the question. It's one myself and Marcus Jackson get asked about quite a bit when it comes to recruits and prospects, but we understand it's natural for fans to ask questions like that.

Sometimes you get good indications and signs players are going to commit to a school, but until they actually sign a letter of intent, it's still not 100 percent certain a particular player will choose a school.

Case in point, the Illinois coaching staff was anxiously awaiting Jihad Ward's letter of intent last February. Until it arrived on signing day, the coaches weren't 100 percent confident the junior college defensive tackle would wind up in Champaign.

burkejo wrote on May 30, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Good afternoon Matt, thanks for taking our questions today.


I was wondering if you thought the signing of 2 running backs for the class of 2015 was an indication that Ty Isaac is another pipe dream for Illinois or not?


Also, what is your prediction for Josh Ferguson's numbers this year, and if they're as good as they were at the end of last year, will he turn pro early? I'm thinking around 1,200 yards rushing, 500 receiving and 12 total touchdowns.


Thanks again Matt

Matt Daniels wrote on May 30, 2014 at 1:05 pm
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Hey burkejo,

I don't think having two running backs in the Class of 2015 would hinder Illinois' chances with Ty Isaac. If Isaac does transfer to Illinois and is eligible for the 2014 season, he'd have two years remaining by the time Dre Brown and Reggie Corbin would arrive at Illinois.

That could give Brown and Corbin the option to redshirt, meaning if Isaac sticks around for the 2016 season, he'd have one year left while Brown and Corbin would still have four.

Of course, all these hyptothetical situations are just that. Hypothetical at this point, especially if Isaac doesn't wind up at Illinois.

Josh Ferguson's plan right now is to play through the 2015 season. That being said, if he shows continued improvement this season like he did last year, he might be tempted to see what his NFL prospects are. If he hits the numbers you've suggested, that might be a possibility. He has a legitimate chance to crack 1,000 rushing yards if he is able to stay healthy, which was the biggest question mark about him before last season, and no doubt you will see Illinois throw him a screen pass or two each game because of how well they worked last year.

Mike Hopkins, from Space wrote on May 30, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Matt-Football recruiting question. The recruits Beckman and Co have on board thus far look promising, but the total number of commitments looks low compared to what others have at this point in the process. Do we appear on track in your opinion? How many should we expect in this class?

Matt Daniels wrote on May 30, 2014 at 1:05 pm
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Hey Mike Hopkins, from Space

Great commencement address by the way. Knocked it out of the park. Or, should I say, orbit.

Apolgies in advance for my poor attempt at any humor.

On to your question. Illinois has four commits, which, at this point in time, is in the bottom tier of the Big Ten. Penn State (15 commits) leads the pack, while Nebraska, Northwestern and Iowa have done well so far in terms of landing a high number of commits by this point.

The recruiting game has changed rapidly in the last few years where you're seeing more and more players commit at an earlier spot in the process. I wouldn't worry too much about the numbers at this point. The only ones you should really concern yourself with is how many Illinois has by the time National Signing Day arrives the first Wednesday in February.

One key aspect when it involves recruiting this year is how well Illinois does on the field. Because if the record isn't better, who knows if Tim Beckman will return for a fourth season on the sidelines. Which will set recruiting back once again for Illinois.

All four commits Illinois has at this moment cited strong relationships they've built with the coaching staff as one of the primary reasons they chose Illinois. Some of the other top in-state players Illinois is chasing have also brought up that factor multiple times.

The Class of 2015 should be back to normal numbers you see on signing day, and early indications are Illinois should be able to sign 22 or 23 players after only signing 18 last signing day.

James Franklin wrote on May 30, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Matt,


There is a lot of noise around a couple of players not getting through admissions.  I have heard about Matt Domer and Tyrin Stone Davis.  What do you know about admissions issues at this point?  Is anyone else at risk of not enrolling?


Thanks.

Matt Daniels wrote on May 30, 2014 at 1:05 pm
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Hey James Franklin,

Best of luck at Penn State. And avoiding the wrath of other Big Ten coaches if you keep recruiting the way you have in your first few months on the job in Happy Valley.

Seriously, people. Great job with the user names today. Creative display. Keep them coming.

Back to your question. Tyrin Stone-Davis was supposed to enroll early in order to take part in spring practices, but academics was the reason he didn't. Everything I've heard is that he is still on track to arrive here this summer, but don't be shocked if he's not. He's a player the Illinois coaches are certainly hoping he is here because they feel he can add another element to the wide receivers.

I've heard Domer's name floated around, but haven't been able to confirm anything on this. He comes from a school with not only a strong football program, but strong academic credentials at Chicago Mt. Carmel, so him not cutting it in the classroom would be a bit surprising.

Everyone else appears to be on board, but stay tuned. These situations can change rapidly.

Long time fan wrote on May 30, 2014 at 1:05 pm

How can Darius Paul meet satisfactory academic progress by going to a junior college?  If he was to return to Illinois he would be in his fourth year.  Wouldn't he need to have earned significant upper level course credit by then to be on pace for a degree?

Matt Daniels wrote on May 30, 2014 at 1:05 pm
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Hey long time fan,

Great question. Without having his exact academic standing in front of me or an idea on what his courseload was like at Illinois, can't provide you a specific answer. Sorry about that.

The events that have led Paul to transfer to a junior college in Texas don't give the impression that the power forward could return to Illinois. But, it's a process that will have to play itself out. If Paul gets his personal life back in gear, stays out of trouble and the Illinois coaches want him back (and vice versa if Paul wants to return to Illinois), then he could return. We'll just have to wait and see.

Feel free to check in with our college basketball beat writer, Marcus Jackson, when he conducts his next weekly chat on Wednesday. He might be able to help out better than I have right here.

Anonymous User wrote on May 30, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Obviously Ty Isaac would be a great get. I think the real benefit would be what it could lead to. Other good Illinois players seeing this would probably look in a more favorable light at the U of I wouldn"t you think? The star player returning home to play at the state university and all. Also from what I've read and heard on radio shows the Illini already seem to be looked at in a more favorable light with the upcoming classes, and a bowl game would really seem to get momentum started wouldn't you think? Also how come Illinois has never been able to recruit consistently in the state's traditional power programs? Even when they were good seems like they didn't take advantage of places like East St Louis,Peoria, Springfield, and of course Chicago and its suburbs. They have gotten good player from schools like Simeon in basketball, but not football. Doesn;t that seem odd?

Matt Daniels wrote on May 30, 2014 at 1:05 pm
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Hey anonymous,

Lots of points you make there. If Isaac would decide on Illinois, that would show other top players in-state that Illinois is a solid choice.

Much like what the Wes Lunt effect had on certain recruits last year around this time.

A bowl game would kickstart momentum in a big way for Illinois. It would provide the coaching staff with more stability, which is always a boon for recruiting.

Good question about why Illinois has never been able to recruit consistently at some of the state's top football schools. It's a question that isn't easily answered or can be explained in a short amount of time.

There's a multitude of reasons (Illinois coaching staffs not recruiting certain schools in the past, losing teams, coaching turnover, other programs asserting themselves at certain schools, etc.), but in order for Illinois to become a bonafide contender year in and year out, keeping the some of the state's top talent (no way they get every top player each recruiting class) is a must.

Matt Daniels wrote on May 30, 2014 at 1:05 pm
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Going to wrap up this week's chat. Thanks for all the questions, as always. Anything else you need, feel free to email me at mdaniels@news-gazette.com or ask away on Twitter @mdaniels_NG

Have a great weekend everyone.