Aug. 29 UI football/recruiting chat

Aug. 29 UI football/recruiting chat

Friday, August 29, 2014 - 1:00pm

Join Illinois football beat writer Matt Daniels less than 24 hours before the Illini open the season against Youngstown State. What's the attendance going to be like? Any big recruits (beside Jalen Brunson) coming to town? Ask away in his weekly give-and-take. Feel free to submit questions ahead of time. 

Matt Daniels wrote on August 29, 2014 at 1:08 pm
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Afternoon everyone. Welcome to another weekly Illinois football and recruiting chat, first one on our redesigned website. Hope everyone likes the new look.

Speaking of new looks, Illinois will wear white helmets, orange jerseys and white pants for Saturday's season opener against Youngstown State. Should have an idea on what to expect the Penguins to wear at some point this afternoon.

Don't forget to come back to HQ and starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday. We'll have a live in-game report started two hours before kickoff and will update that throughout the game.

Had a look at Wes Lunt in a story in today's News-Gazette, along with a look at Illinois commit Dre Brown from DeKalb. Brown and the Barbs get going tonight with a home game against Vernon Hills. 

Loren Tate gets going with his 49th season of Illinois football coverage on Saturday. See him around town, stop by and say hello.

Let's get going with any questions you may have.

DPL wrote on August 29, 2014 at 1:08 pm



I see that Coors Light has signed on to be the official beer of the Illini.  I also read an article that colleges are moving towards selling beer at stadiums for more revenue.  Have you heard if or when they might start selling beer at MS, I would think that would be a no brainer....




Matt Daniels wrote on August 29, 2014 at 1:08 pm
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Hey DPL,

College stadiums are seriously contemplating the sale of alcohol at its football games in a boost to increase revenue. Alcohol is sold at Illinois if you are in a club seat, like at the Colonnades Club, but not anywhere else in the stadium.

Athletic director Mike Thomas has come out before and said they won't sell alcohol at the games right now, but it is a discussion point. There's risk/rewards if you start selling alcohol at college sporting events. Sure, it might bring about a few more fans, but certainly it's an item law enforcement officials most likely would want universities to shy away from.

I know SMU is slated to sell alcohol at home games this fall, which could spark a trend across the country. Right now, though, at Illinois, it won't happen this season.

Anonymous User wrote on August 29, 2014 at 1:08 pm

I understand the excitement that will be generated by Brunson and other BB recruits. Will there be any FB recruits  here that you know of? Is it to early in the season for them? What are the chances we get Milan and Annan as D-Line recruits?  Also what does a  recruit do when their here? Are they on a controlled schedule, who shows them around? Wonder what a visit is like to an SEC school or one of the TX schools? I bet their's are a little wilder.  Seems like we are avoiding stuff like the ND mess, which is good!

Matt Daniels wrote on August 29, 2014 at 1:08 pm
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Hey Anonymous,

Illinois will have football recruits in attendance like it does at every home game. None, however, carry the prestige and notoriety of Brunson.

One player of note that should attend Saturday morning's game is Kentrail Moran, a Class of 2016 running back out of O'Fallon (Ill.) High School. Moran has made several visits to Illinois in the past, and he's a high priority for the Illini. If he has a junior season many feel he is capable of having, he could turn into a national type recruit. Most of the Big Ten is on him, with Michigan and Indiana adding offers to his list this summer.

I'd expect several commits at Saturday's game. Talked to DeKalb running back Dre Brown earlier this week and he said he'd try to come down. The problem with 11 a.m. kickoffs for football recruiting purposes is most high school programs have film review on Saturday morning after playing Friday night, making it difficult for anyone to travel and arrive in Champaign.

Along with Brown, Jacksonville offensive lineman Gabe Megginson, Warren tight end Caleb Reams and Champaign Centennial quarterback Jimmy Fitzgerald are among the commits Illinois has in the Class of 2015 who will likely attend nearly every home game they can.\

Here's what Tim Beckman had to say on the topic of 11 a.m. kickoffs affecting recruiting:

“Because of the speed of recruiting nowadays, a lot of the juniors and sophomores have already been here,” Beckman said. “Of course, a later game makes it easier for someone to drive in and to be involved here on campus. I am a proponent of night games, and the more we can do that, it helps in recruiting and with the atmosphere.”

Nick N. wrote on August 29, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Hi Matt...What keys will you be looking for in tommorow's game to determine if this team might have what it takes to make a run at a 6-7 win type of season vs. something in the 2-4 range? Thanks.

Matt Daniels wrote on August 29, 2014 at 1:08 pm
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Hey Nick N.,

Shameless self-promotional plug here, which does pertain to your question. If you're around Central Illinois tomorrow morning, check out WAND-TV (the local NBC affiliate in Decatur). Matt Loveless, Steve Kelly and myself will have an hour-long show revolved around the Illini and the Big Ten starting at 10 a.m.

One of the items they asked me earlier this week when we taped it revolves around my answer here. The biggest key, in my eyes, to determine whether Illinois can make the leap into a possible bowl team is how well the defense plays. Specifically how much better they tackle. Too many times to count last season, Illinois was left exposed once skill players got free in space. And then exploited by their inability to tackle.

Granted, the quality of players Illinois will see from Youngstown State aren't on the same level Illinois will face later this season against the likes of Nebraska, Wisconsin and Ohio State, among others. There's a reason those players are at an FCS school and the others are not.

But building confidence with a defense whose confidence was shattered at times last season is a huge component. If Illinois wants to have a successful season this year and end a two-year bowl drought.

Matt Daniels wrote on August 29, 2014 at 1:08 pm
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Going to wrap the chat up for this week. Thanks for the questions, and feel free to send more my way via email at or on Twitter @mdaniels_NG.

And make sure to check out our in-game report starting at 9 a.m. tomorrow before the Illini open the season against Youngstown State. College football is back. And that's a good thing.