Matt Daniels, college football beat writer for HQ, also blogs about recruiting each weekday. His weekly chat starts is being moved to 9 a.m. this Friday due to a scheduling conflict. Submit questions of any kind at any time.
Good morning. Matt Daniels here for about the next half hour or so to handle any recruiting and Illinois football questions you may have. Illinois has a big game on Saturday night when it hosts Wisconsin in a 7 p.m. kickoff. Big weekend not only for if Illinois improves its bowl chances with an upset win. But recruiting-wise as well.
Illinois will have more than 40 recruits on campus, including some particularly key targets in the Class of 2014 and Class of 2015. Some Class of 2016 and even some Class of 2017 prospects are expected to be on hand as well. Guess you can't get them to campus soon eonugh.
Feel free to submit any questions. Don't have any in the hopper right now, so I'll update this chat with random thoughts regarding Illinois football and recruiting.
Some of the key football recruits that are set to attend Saturday night include six Class of 2014 commits. Center Nick Allegretti from Lincoln-Way East, running back Matt Domer from Chicago Mt. Carmel, quarterback Chayce Crouch from Newark (Ohio) Catholic, linebacker Austin Roberts from Rice Lake (Wis.), linebacker Henry McGrew from Blue Valley (Kan.) and tight end Jordan Frazier from Lighthouse Christian Academy in Springfield, Mo., are all slated to show up in Champaign.
For a full list of prep football players visiting Champaign-Urbana this weekend and what recruiting coordinator Alex Golesh has to say, click here.
No real surprises on the Illinois injury report released on Thursday night. Linebacker Henry Dickinson, center Tony Durkin and defensive tackle Bryce Douglas were the only players listed as out.
Durkin hurt his shoulder in preseason practices and is done for the year. Same goes for Dickinson, who underwent surgery again to repair the broken leg and ankle he sustained in August 2012 at Camp Rantoul.
Tim Beckman was planning on redshirting Douglas anyway, who has raw talent. The year away should help the son of former Illinois basketball standout Bruce Douglas improve his conditioning and put him in line to see the field during the 2014 season.
Looks like the crowd might approach 50,000 on Saturday night. Might. Jason Heggemeyer, the Illinois assistant AD in charge of ticketing, said on Thursday projections are between 44,000 and 47,000. I'm going to go optimistic and say a few thousand walk up on Saturday to buy tickets and push the crowd past 50,000 for the first time in four home games at Memorial Stadium.
With so many recruits on hand, plus a primetime matchup on BTN, the Illinois coaches have emphasized the need for a raucous atmosphere on Saturday night. Stay tuned if that happens for a game Tim Beckman is touting as an Orange Out.
Got a feature coming up in Saturday's News-Gazette on running back Josh Ferguson. Who, by the way, is the only FBS running back who is leading his team in both rushing and receiving yards. Ferguson's 344 receiving yards are most by a running back in the country and his 310 rushing yards lead the Illini.
Basketball had its Orange and Blue scrimmage last night, and Class of 2015 prospect Aaron Jordan was in attendance. The Plainfield East shooting guard went into his sophomore season a relative unknown. That won't be the case this winter. Jordan's offer list is continuing to pick up, with Indiana and Wisconsin offering. Illinois is heavily involved with the junior, who picked up an offer in July from Illinois. Dustin Ford is the point man on Jordan's recruitment, and like my colleague Marcus Jackson stated last night in his live report, I agree Jordan will eventually commit to Illinois. Just a hunch and from talking to him, he seems to really enjoy the style of play John Groce's team uses. Plus it's a good sign when Jordan comes down to Champaign-Urbana as often as he has in the last few months.
Going to wrap this up. Should be back at the normal scheduled time of 1 p.m. next Friday. Any questions you might have, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or ask away on Twitter (@mdaniels_NG).
Have a good weekend!