Klachko signals reopening of pipeline

Klachko signals reopening of pipeline

SPRINGFIELD — It has been a while since a Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin alum played a significant role at Illinois.

Ken Leonard, longtime successful coach of the Cyclones, thinks that's about to change.

Former News-Gazette All-Stater Ryan Klachko proved Leonard right, joining the Illini officially today. Earlier in the summer, he left Nebraska after one season.He will have to sit out 2012 and will have three years remaining at Illinois. He will be on scholarship.

Leonard contacted Tim Beckman about Klachko's interest in the school. Klachko visited Camp Rantoul to watch practice.

"There were a lot of offensive linemen at Nebraska," Leonard said. "He felt that his shot to play sooner was going to be better (at Illinois).

"I encouraged him to go there."

Klachko had an Illinois offer as a high school senior, one of more than a dozen college options. Others on the list included Arizona, Boston College, Missouri and Purdue.

"I think it was just the luster of Nebraska," Leonard said.

The last Illinois letterwinner from the school was defensive lineman Josh Norris in 2006. Before that, kicker Peter Christofilakos lettered in 2002. Both Norris and Christofilakos were originally walk-ons.

The last SH-G player to sign a scholarship with Illinois was defensive lineman Mike McGee in the late 1990s.

There were other talented players from the school that Illinois missed on during the past decade.

"With Eric Peterman going to Northwestern, if Illinois would have came after him, he would have probably went," Leonard said.

Leonard thinks there could be a steady stream of SH-G players joining the Illini in the future. Leonard likes the Illinois staff.

"They showed me something in going to every high school in the state," Leonard said. "They've got a chance to be successful just because of their attitude."

Co-offensive coordinator Billy Gonzales is responsible for recruiting the Springfield area. Leonard has spent time with Gonzales and co-offensive coordinator Chris Beatty.

"I think the world of both those guys," Leonard said. "I think they're going to be very good."


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chuckles wrote on August 15, 2012 at 9:08 am

Recycled trash from a mid level Big 10 program. Whoppee!

illinizeeman wrote on August 15, 2012 at 10:08 am

Welcome to the Klachkos!

I'll take an all-stater any time.  Akeem Millington came back and was a solid contributor.

It's good to see the coaches have been reconnected to the state's pipeline, regardless of how abundant in talent it is.  It's evident that Beckman has the best management and PR skills since White.  A few early wins without having to endure head-scratching coaching decisions will go a long way this season.


houstonillini84 wrote on August 15, 2012 at 11:08 am

I agree about welcoming the new player. But I would wait a bit before we compare Beckman to Mike White in any way shape or form.

jjohnson wrote on August 15, 2012 at 10:08 am

Chuckles, you may think you are funny, but it is a real person, a kid, whom you are calling, "Trash." I think it would be a sign of some class were you to apologize in these comments.

houstonillini84 wrote on August 15, 2012 at 12:08 pm

I dont know why HQ allows troll posts like that. Its one thing to say "I dont think this player will help much' (although i disagree), but to call him trash, well those posts IMO should be deleted by moderators. Also, he says nebraska is mid level, well what does that make us??? I dont know many football experts who would take our roster or anything over Nebraska's.

Moonpie wrote on August 15, 2012 at 3:08 pm

One player signals a re-opening of a pipeline? One player? One pint of oil ain't an oil well.

Moonpie wrote on August 15, 2012 at 3:08 pm

houstonillini84--there you go again, my friend, eager to silence someone on a board that is set up for people to post their views, even if they disagree with you. I hope you don't dislike democracy as much as you do freedom of speech at a fan board, which is not the exclusive property of conservatives in lockstep behind an authority figure.

Oh, I forgot --fans should only be allowed to post that they agree with Obi Wan Tate or Klee Klub -- or you, of course. Yes, let's have censorship because clearly you fear views different than your own.

Okay--now post how this post should have been deleted!

ptevonian wrote on August 15, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Actually, Moonpie, he didn't say people can't disagree.  Disagreement is fine.  HoustonIllini commented on the choice of words.  People can disagree vehemently while still being respectful, especially when the subject of the discussion is a new Illini player that may very well be able to help our team, and who has not done anything wrong or even been given a chance.  Be skeptical, be convinced the kid will never see the field or help the team.  But try to show the kid and his family some respect.

JohnWams wrote on August 17, 2012 at 1:08 am

Moonpie, you should definitely schedule a colonoscopy. There has to be something stuck in there.


grapplinfool wrote on August 17, 2012 at 2:08 pm

god you're dumb

GW wrote on August 15, 2012 at 8:08 pm

I have an idea moonbeam, why don't you go drink a quart of oil. I'm sick of listening to your whining and crying. You think you're cute but in reality you're boring.... Have a great day!


JohnWams wrote on August 16, 2012 at 2:08 am

Moonpie is everything wrong with this site. Go Illini!!!

uofix3 wrote on August 16, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Let's hope Beckman is better able to follow recruiting rules than White.