It looks like Illinois and John Groce will have to wait longer for a premier high school player from Indiana to arrive in Champaign-Urbana.
JaQuan Lyle cut his list of potential schools to four Thursday night, and Illinois was not among the select few.
“Florida, Indiana, Louisville, and Tennessee are my final 4 schools,” Lyle tweeted Thursday night.
The promising 6-foot-5 combo guard in the Class of 2014 from Evansville Bosse had narrowed his list of schools from 10 to seven earlier this spring.
Illinois made the cut then.
But Illinois, along with Ohio State and UCLA, did not make it into his final four.
Lyle visited the Illinois campus in late January for a 74-60 loss to Michigan and had visited campus on several other occasions when Bruce Weber was at the helm.
It’s the second time in the last seven months an elite prep player from Indiana did not choose Illinois after Class of 2013 point guard Demetrius Jackson picked Notre Dame over the Illini in September. Illinois has not had a player from neighboring Indiana play at the school since Scott Haffner from Noblesville played one season at Illinois during the 1984-1985 season before transferring to Evansville.
LB joins Class of 2014. Getting a linebacker in the Class of 2014 was a high priority for Illinois football coach Tim Beckman.
The Illini have at least one in the fold now.
Austin Roberts gave Illinois an oral commitment Thursday, becoming the fifth commit for the Illini in that class.
Roberts, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound inside linebacker from Rice Lake (Wis.), compiled 152 tackles, seven sacks and five forced fumbles last fall. Rice Lake, which has an enrollment of 767, finished 6-4 last season before losing in the second round of the Division 3 playoffs. Division 3 is the third-largest class of the seven Wisconsin offers.
Roberts, a two-star linebacker by several recruiting services, had offers from Army, Air Force and Central Michigan. Roberts, whose main recruiters were outside linebackers coach Al Seamonson and inside linebackers coach Mike Ward, didn’t wait long on picking Illinois. The Illini offered him in early June at one of their camps in suburban Chicago.
Roberts joins defensive lineman Tito Odenigbo from Centerville (Ohio), center Nick Allegretti from Lincoln-Way East, wide receiver Mike Dudek from Neuqua Valley and quarterback Chayce Crouch from Newark (Ohio) as prep players who have given Beckman an oral commitment in the last three months.