Golesh: 'If you're committed, sign'
RANTOUL — Bo Pelini made comments at Big Ten Media days in late July suggesting National Signing Day become a thing of the past.
Make sure the first Wednesday in February doesn’t feature wall-to-wall coverage of college football recruiting.
Have the recruit sign a letter of intent when they commit to a particular school.
Don’t wait an extended period of time before a recruit officially joins a team.
Alex Golesh nods his head in agreement with the Nebraska coach’s remarks.
“If you’re committed, sign,” the Illinois recruiting coordinator said. “Heck yes do that, because then why do you commit? That’s a great point he made. He’s dead on.”
Whether or not anything comes of the push made by various coaches on this front to get rid of signing day isn’t a done deal by any means. But it would help the recruiting process, according to Golesh.
“You wouldn’t be recruiting the kids that are committed as hard anymore,” he said. “Now you’re just building relationships, and those kids feel like, ‘Hey, I’m set. I’m comfortable.’ Every time a kid commits, the season affects that commitment. There’s some commits you have where you think, ‘Hey, we’ve got to win to keep that kid.’ There’s a reason why the kid said he wants to be here. Have them sign on the paper.”
Illinois has 13 commits lined up so far in the Class of 2015. The number could have reached 14 on Wednesday. But Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin offensive tackle Quinn Oseland orally committed to Minnesota ahead of Illinois. The highly-coveted prospect had more than 20 offers, but Minnesota and Illinois were among his final two choices, according to sources.
One commit Illinois has in the 2015 class, wide receiver A.D. Miller out of Dallas Bishop Dunne High School, is reportedly going to visit Tennessee at some point this fall, but is still solid with Illinois. Yet whenever he does visit the Volunteers — if he does — could set off a bit of anxiety for the Illinois coaching staff and its fanbase.
Having a rule in place where Miller could have signed immediately after he committed could end possible speculation and uncertainty about if Miller still lands with Illinois.
With the recruiting process becoming more accelerated in the Big Ten and with recruits committing to conference schools earlier in the process, the number of recruits who are making their choices known on signing day are fewer. Each school in the Big Ten already has reached the double-digit marks in commits for the Class of 2015. Penn State and Rutgers lead the way with 19 each. For comparison’s sake, Illinois only had 18 recruits from the third class Beckman signed in February.
“I think up north the push is to commit early,” Golesh said. “Down south and in the southeast, the push is to take your visits. I’m not sure why that is. It seems like the offers are coming out at the same time, but those kids down there are waiting.”
Geography plays a role, too, in securing early commitments. In-state players and in the Midwest are recruits Illinois feels it has a better chance of getting a commitment from than players down south and in Florida.
“They’re not getting up here as much as the kids in Ohio, Illinois and Indiana,” Golesh said. “Those kids are able to come here over and over again. That’s why we’ve had some success early. Staff continuity had a lot to do with it, but we worked really hard to get these kids here early. If the kids aren’t committed at this point, unless you’re a no-doubt take guy, those kids’ opportunities start to close.”
Some concern has materialized with Illinois’ upcoming recruit class. Of the 13 commits, 12 are offensive players. Safety Pat Nelson from Chicago Hales Franciscan is the only defensive commit thus far.
“The reasoning behind it is the amount of Midwest offensive kids was higher,” Golesh said. “The amount of defensive players in Illinois that we’ve offered is probably 25 percent less than the amount of offensive kids that we’ve offered in Illinois. When I looked at that board in May after some of the super-early commitments came through, going into that period where you knew you were going to get 10-15 commits, you look at outside linebacker, and they’re all on the East coast and in the southeast.”
Golesh is aware of the need to bring in defensive commits sooner rather than later.
“It’s going to come down to visits and maybe get into schools that we haven’t been in six, seven or eight times like we have at others in the last year,” he said. “There’s certain schools we’ve been in, and certain schools we haven’t. It makes you nervous because you don’t want to panic at the end, but that comes with having some depth. If you have some depth, then you never feel like you have to panic.”