Illini Football 2018

#76
Relative to the Chicago-land area, the small school competition in the state of Illinois has been really bad the past 15 or so years - the talent just isn't there
I'm not sure what you are implying here but small school football in the state tends to be dominated by non-Chicago-land teams. Here are the qualifying schools for the state championships from the three smaller football divisions this past year:

CLASS 3A
(8) Wilmington 37, (1) Farmington 12
(5) IC Catholic 29, (4) Peotone 16
(2) Williamsville 45, (7) Bloomington Central 14
(3) Byron 21, (6) Monticello 20
(16) Pleasant Plains 29, (8) Newton 27
(5) Carlinville 40, (4) St. Teresa 36
(15) Vandalia 27, (10) Greenville 14
(3) Anna-Jonesboro 29, (6) Pana 14


CLASS 2A
(1) Newman Central Catholic 41, (8) Hope Academy 22
(4) Orion 24, (5) Clifton Central 21
(2) Gibson City 24, (10) West Carroll 6
(14) El Paso 28, (6) Knoxville 22
(1) West Hancock 28, (8) Bismarck 12
(4) Maroa-Forsyth 48, (5) Eldorado 6
(2) Westville 46, (10) Carlyle 28
(6) Shelbyville 50, (3) Tri-Valley 35


CLASS 1A
(1) Lena-Winslow 49, (8) Milledgeville 16
(5) Aquin 21, (4) Stockton 14
(10) Princeville 21, (2) Wethersfield 20
(3) Forreston 30, (11) Fulton 6
(1) Tuscola 50, (9) Brown County 13
(4) Carrollton 20, (5) Camp Point Central 18
(2) Red Hill 36, (10) Cumberland 0
(6) Athens 42, (3) Argenta-Oreana 12

Now, if you are saying that the majority of Div I talent in the state plays for the larger schools in the state then I will agree.
 
#77
2A and 3A football is a lot of fun to watch. Rarely is there much D1 talent but a few of them still trickle into D1 schools after transfers or even make NFL rosters. (Alex Tanney from Lexington comes to mind).

Every now and again the Illini will pick up someone from this level so no need to knock them.
 
Likes: CHEEF
#79
#88
It's all just early practice reports at this point, so take it with a grain of salt, but the following appears to be true:

Cam Thomas was the best of our three QB's last year, IMO. At the very least he was no worse than the other two. He was the only QB in the spring and got a jump start on learning Rod Smith's offense, and by all accounts is making more accurate throws and better decisions than he was last year. He's an improved player, and therefore improved upon a level that was at the top of our QB play last year.

....and he's being totally left in the dust by AJ Bush AND Matt Robinson.

That's pretty exciting.
 
#89
Good to see the groundwork being laid for future QBs. Still think Cam will be the backup to Bush. Next year it will be more if a QB competition.
 
#91
Now Jeremy Werner believes that Matt Robinson is going to be the starter next year. THAT is have a shocked face for!
 
#92
Lovie presser

https://twitter.com/JWerner247

Lovie Smith starting media day presser now: "We like where we are."

Lovie: "We want competition" and players to not feel comfortable. That's helped at QB. Each guy is making plays. Don't have a starter and haven't named a starter.

Lovie on AJ Bush: "You notice him and you hear him."

Lovie: Numbers are down defensively. Banged-up a bit. But our front is coming back for second year. Doing good things.

Lovie: "It's good to get Jake Hansen back."

Lovie: QBs have embraced competition. It's a close group. The QB has to be a tight room. They spend a lot of time together.

Lovie: Felt we needed to add at DB. You want the guys as long as possible, good hips, speed, ball skills. All those young guys have had their moments and will get an opportunity to play.

Lovie: The players will tell you when the top QB emerges. Not ready to make those decisions.

Lovie: Initially, Kendrick Green "was OK" with moving to OL, but now he's embraced it. Had a great day today (agreed)

Lovie: Jamal Milan went down with knee injury. Whenever you stop practice and they walk off gingerly, it's not a good thing, but we'll see.

Lovie: What we're seeing is that our evaluations in recruiting are what we thought, which is good.

Lovie: Fun watching Rod Smith's offense today. Seemed like it was touchdown after touchdown. He's a good guy brings a fun presence, energy.

Lovie: "We're not the same team we were last year. This is a better team."

Lovie: Kievan Myers "making progress." Still not with the team but hope to have him soon.
 
#94
It's all just early practice reports at this point, so take it with a grain of salt, but the following appears to be true:

Cam Thomas was the best of our three QB's last year, IMO. At the very least he was no worse than the other two. He was the only QB in the spring and got a jump start on learning Rod Smith's offense, and by all accounts is making more accurate throws and better decisions than he was last year. He's an improved player, and therefore improved upon a level that was at the top of our QB play last year.

....and he's being totally left in the dust by AJ Bush AND Matt Robinson.

That's pretty exciting.
Robert from alioneye tweeted that AJ looks like our best quarterback since 2013 Scheelhaase. There is hope.
 
#97
Lovie: What we're seeing is that our evaluations in recruiting are what we thought, which is good.
Lovie: Fun watching Rod Smith's offense today. Seemed like it was touchdown after touchdown. He's a good guy brings a fun presence, energy.
Lovie: "We're not the same team we were last year. This is a better team.
These three things. Wow.

I think the first point is absolutely huge for our long term ceiling. It means our recruiting rankings are lower than the talent we're actually getting.

And the thought of having an offense that's fun to watch? Outstanding.