Matt Daniels talked with the CBS Sports Network recruiting expert
3 questions for ...
... Tom Lemming, the CBS Sports Network recruiting expert
How does Illinois improve its recruiting at a national level?
I know they had their camps this spring and summer, and the ones I was at, they got real good attendance. This staff is a very hard-working staff. They’re really into recruiting. I like the way they’ve gone about their recruiting. They’ve lost some big-name kids, but that’s to be expected because of their record last year. They were in on all those kids they lost. When they start winning, those kids are going to start falling their way because they’re personable and highly enthusiastic.
What do you think so far of the nine commits Illinois has in the Class of 2014?
Nick Allegretti is a big-time player. He’s a tough, blue-collar lineman. Matt Domer was one of the best running backs in the Midwest last year. The same thing with Mike Dudek at wide receiver. Julian Hylton is an athlete and one of the faster players you’ll see. I saw Malik Turner last year, and he’s a big, physical receiver. With Tito Odenigbo, I liked his brother (Northwestern defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo) and I like him, too. Even the quarterback from Newark, Ohio, (Chayce Crouch) is a good player. What he’s got is potential. Illinois is bringing in their type of guys.
How can head coaches getting fired after a few seasons affect recruiting?
What happens is when you have a change of coaches, you can’t afford one bad class. The transition from Ron Zook to Tim Beckman cost them one whole class. In Zook’s final few seasons, recruiting wasn’t very good, either. Tim inherited an exceptionally weak team. What do you expect them to do? They’re going to lose because it’s not only a weak, unathletic team, but they’re not used to his system. If they leave him alone, I think you’ll see a gradual climb by Illinois into the top half of the Big Ten. Illinois keeps having this turnover every three to four years it seems. If they get rid of (Beckman), they’ll start all over again.