Asmussen: Camp Rantoul will be back!
Bob Asmussen's three thoughts on college football this week
More of a good thing
Not only does Tim Beckman plan to return his team to Camp Rantoul this year, he wants to be there longer than before.
”I’d like to extend it,” Beckman said. “We’re going to extend it a couple days. I think it’s great. I really do. I think it’s awesome with what we can do out there. It’s an NFL camp.”
Beckman grew up going to NFL camps with his dad, Dave, who coached for the Cleveland Browns.
“It brings back memories,” Beckman said.
Camp Rantoul was started by Ron Turner in his second season at Illinois. It continued when Ron Zook took over, and Beckman has wisely kept the tradition going.
“The people are fabulous out there,” Beckman said. “The facility is nice. The only thing the kids would like to have is a better bed. Last year, maybe it was because we were so young, but the players really liked it other than they said the beds weren’t that comfy, but heck with that. I might pull the mattresses off and make them sleep on the floor.”
It was a good week in the recruiting world for coaches with Illinois ties. At North Carolina, one-time Illinois assistants Larry Fedora, Dan Disch, Vic Koenning and Keith Gilmore compiled the nation’s No. 23 class, according to Rivals.com. The bulk of the players are from North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia, but the coaches did nab a player from Ohio. Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, who had the same job at Illinois under Ron Zook, helped the new Big Ten team land the No. 54 class. No surprise, many of the players were from the D.C./Baltimore area Locksley knows so well. At Western Kentucky, former Zook assistant Jeff Brohm put together the No. 76 class. Not bad given the short amount of time he had to recruit. Brohm took players from nine different states.
So, Nick Saban pulled in another top recruiting class. What did you think was going to happen? There are several reasons Saban is able to sign the top class at Alabama. It starts with tradition. Next comes Alabama’s reputation as an NFL pipeline. And the coaching staff, even with recent departures, it top-notch. As long as Saban is in charge of the program in Tuscaloosa, he is going to win the recruiting battle every year. Everybody else is playing for second place. The combination of Saban and Alabama is unbeatable. When the coach is linked to jobs in either the NFL or college, you can bet his rivals are crossing their fingers and hoping he will say yes. But Saban is a smart guy. Unless somebody throws A-Rod money at him, he is staying put.