Illinois Football Recruiting Thread

South Carolina
All of which to say is....you are what your record says you are.

Makes for good debate and conversation, but in the end, Illinois was 6-6, nothing more, nothing less.
Agreed that Illinois was 6-6 and they earned it. But when assessing expectations for next year, I hope nobody considers 6-6 to be the team's floor. The team could improve next year and still end up at 6-6.
 
Forgottonia
Agreed that Illinois was 6-6 and they earned it. But when assessing expectations for next year, I hope nobody considers 6-6 to be the team's floor. The team could improve next year and still end up at 6-6.
I do. That should mean 5-0 non-con and at least 1 B10 win. Barring catastrophic injuries, I don’t see any reason to expect less. I‘m hoping for 7, maybe 8 wins, but a 5 win season is a real setback and would lead to calls for a change.
 
Forgottonia
What are these 5 non-cons you speak of? We only have 3.
Hahaha.

I literally have no idea what I was thinking there! Apparently Rutgers is not really in the big 10 and we really should win the off week, right??? Sheesh. I'm going to bed now.....
 
Nope. KevinC is correct.

We did what we had to in order to beat UW and MSU. No matter the variables (them making bad coaching decisions, luck...whatever) we still won. On the flip side, we very well should have beaten EMU (7-5) and if we had made 1-2 good plays (or gotten the PI call at the end) could have beat Nebby. (8-4)

Then consider our bad coaching decisions during the NW game (trying to out finesse them in a rainy slog fest) kept us from having the chance to go 9-3.

We used to rail on Tim Beckham for saying “if this play and that play didn’t happen, we would have won.” Doing the “we were so close to 3-9 instead of 6-6” is the same thing.

In the end, a 6-6 caliber team ended up 6-6. If you try to take away plays or add in circumstances that justify why we could have been 3-9 then that same logic can be used to justify why we could have been 9-3.
What I'm saying is net/net we benefited from a lot of lucky breaks last year. We were lucky MSU fell apart in the 4th quarter, we were lucky Chryst forgot he had a Heisman caliber running back at the end of the UW game, we got lucky PU was down to their third string QB in a rainstorm that helped us greatly, we were lucky Nebraska didn't beat us by 40 given how badly they outplayed us. I can't really point to any offsetting bad breaks - it's not like we outplayed EMU; they were a better team that day. Those breaks could very well go against us next year and we end up 3-9 or 4-8; I'm not sure our talent makes us much if any better than that.
 
What I'm saying is net/net we benefited from a lot of lucky breaks last year. We were lucky MSU fell apart in the 4th quarter, we were lucky Chryst forgot he had a Heisman caliber running back at the end of the UW game, we got lucky PU was down to their third string QB in a rainstorm that helped us greatly, we were lucky Nebraska didn't beat us by 40 given how badly they outplayed us. I can't really point to any offsetting bad breaks - it's not like we outplayed EMU; they were a better team that day. Those breaks could very well go against us next year and we end up 3-9 or 4-8; I'm not sure our talent makes us much if any better than that.
I think you can use about 5-10 years of "bad breaks" to point towards "offsetting" the good breaks from last season.
 
Likes: CogDog
South Carolina
I do. That should mean 5-0 non-con and at least 1 B10 win. Barring catastrophic injuries, I don’t see any reason to expect less. I‘m hoping for 7, maybe 8 wins, but a 5 win season is a real setback and would lead to calls for a change.
To be clear I'm not saying we should settle for 6-6. I'm just saying there's a significant chance the team doesn't meet expectations. I'm just salty because of the way the season ended. I have to remind myself that a lot of that was due to injuries.
 
Would tackling affect total yards gained?????
Well, of course. But isn't poor tackling part of the reason you can get outplayed? The 1-11 third down conversion rate for the Illini had nothing to do with tackling. The Illini also punted twice as many times as Nebraska (8 vs. 4). Third down conversions were 11-19 for Nebraska vs. 1-11 for Illinois. Except for turnovers, Nebraska dominated pretty much every stat.
 
Little Rock, Arkansas
What I'm saying is net/net we benefited from a lot of lucky breaks last year. We were lucky MSU fell apart in the 4th quarter, we were lucky Chryst forgot he had a Heisman caliber running back at the end of the UW game, we got lucky PU was down to their third string QB in a rainstorm that helped us greatly, we were lucky Nebraska didn't beat us by 40 given how badly they outplayed us. I can't really point to any offsetting bad breaks - it's not like we outplayed EMU; they were a better team that day. Those breaks could very well go against us next year and we end up 3-9 or 4-8; I'm not sure our talent makes us much if any better than that.
While MSU may have played sub-par or made bad decisions, we still had to make the plays to win. We were down, what 28-3 or something like that going into the 4th quarter? That's a VERY tough hill to climb regardless of how bad the other team plays down the stretch. We beat them because we called a better game and MSU didn't execute. It wasn't luck that caused Bhe Bhe to make play after play. And it wasn't luck that caused Peters to throw a dart to Daniel Barker for the win.

Chryst didn't forget he had a Heisman caliber running back, but he did just see said running back fumble to give Illinois the ball the drive before. Maybe he was trying to keep the ball away from gang tackles (knowing our ability to force fumbles) and was trying to get it out into space where his receivers could catch it and fall down. (or at least only be tackled by 1 or 2 guys) Hindsight is 20/20.

Weather helped us against PU but only because Jeff Brohm refused adjust his own game for it. Which was basically the exact opposite of the NW game.

We weren't lucky against Nebraska because we forced like 5 turnovers. We FORCED the turnovers. That's not luck (at least not always) and it kept us in a game where we were a poor match to their offensive style. But that is exactly what Lovie tries to do with his defense.

Anyway, this is a long post and it's basically to re-emphasize the point that we earned 6 wins. We didn't luck into them...lucking into a win is sort of like that Fresno State offensive lineman catching a deflected pass during the 2pt conversion and falling into the end-zone for a win. That's about as close to luck as you can get.

We earned 6 wins, and 6 teams earned wins against us.

Here is an expert from the post Northwestern game write-up by Robert from Illiniboard. It's kind of a nice depiction of the mirror image season we had with our wins and losses. Sure we made plays in some games, but we didn't execute in others. That's what happens to 6-6 teams.

"Wet games where one team dominated the line of scrimmage: Purdue win, Northwestern loss
One team clearly dominated the other team in a complete mismatch: Akron win, Minnesota loss
Field goal in the NEZ of Memorial Stadium decides the outcome: Wisconsin win, Eastern Michigan loss
Illinois has the ball, down four, driving for the winning score: Michigan State win, Nebraska loss
"That game really shouldn't have been that close for the favorite": 8-point UConn win, 9-point Iowa loss
"Whoa, this game is tight" and then two quick turnovers and the game is over: Rutgers win, Michigan loss

There's even symmetry with the schedule. Two wins, then four losses, then four wins, then two losses."


"https://www.illiniboard.com/2019/11/30/whooped/
 
Well, of course. But isn't poor tackling part of the reason you can get outplayed? The 1-11 third down conversion rate for the Illini had nothing to do with tackling. The Illini also punted twice as many times as Nebraska (8 vs. 4). Third down conversions were 11-19 for Nebraska vs. 1-11 for Illinois. Except for turnovers, Nebraska dominated pretty much every stat.
The defense made plays and created turnovers then missed tackles and gave up TDs. That is not being outplayed
Our special teams was the better. That is not being outplayed
Our offense scored when we had a short field and COMPLETELY SUCKED when they didn't. That is not being outplayed

If the offense could have found a few more first downs, ILL wins that game. To me, that is not getting outplayed
It was a close game, because frankly both teams are bad. Neither outplayed the other
 
Forgottonia
Werner had an interesting and concerning interview with Ryan Easterling last week regarding instate recruiting. Worth a listen on Illini Inquirer podcast.
 
Likes: CogDog
Werner had an interesting and concerning interview with Ryan Easterling last week regarding instate recruiting. Worth a listen on Illini Inquirer podcast.
I would say it was good and bad. Here are my major takeaways (tell me if you thought different):
1. The big Illinois O lineman have dissapeared
2. The 2020 class was overall weak for the state
3. 2021 have some solid skill position prospects
4. It seems the in state kids were very high on Illinois during the summer
5. It seems like the other schools just kept on these kids more than the IL staff, so they ultimately signed with other schools

The last one was the big WTF moment for me. But at least we had the kids interest at some point..... Let us hope they learn and adjust
 
you feel me, dog?
Elmhurst
In-state kids: we've shown that our program has improved quite a bit and we're finally competitive with our peers (most of them, anyway). Our training facility is done now. I'm expecting serious improvement with our in-state recruiting (doh!), starting with the 2021 class.
 
Forgottonia
I would say it was good and bad. Here are my major takeaways (tell me if you thought different):
1. The big Illinois O lineman have dissapeared
2. The 2020 class was overall weak for the state
3. 2021 have some solid skill position prospects
4. It seems the in state kids were very high on Illinois during the summer
5. It seems like the other schools just kept on these kids more than the IL staff, so they ultimately signed with other schools

The last one was the big WTF moment for me. But at least we had the kids interest at some point..... Let us hope they learn and adjust
Yes, it wasn’t all negative. I hope I didn’t leave that impression, but yes that last point was concerning. He seemed to be saying, without saying it, was other schools are out working IL when it comes to the instate kids. Like keeping a relationship going with the coaches even if they don’t have any players we currently want. Extending offers earlier to kids that have promise, but maybe not there yet. I believe there was a comment about just because there is an offer doesn’t mean you have to take a commit if its too soon or not the right fit. That seems like a slippery slope, but it sounds like that happens a lot. There has been much discussion on here about instate vs out of state recruiting and just about everyone who cares to has weighed in. With the recruiting staff we currently have, I don’t have high expectations that instate will be a top priority. And as long as we get the right players, I’m not one who cares where they come from. But the 2020 class as it stands is not going to take us anywhere.

This class is far from over and I’m still fairly optimistic about the transfer portal. But like Joel says, the 2021 class looms large and at this point we can not fail to capitalize on it. That’s my opinion, not Joel’s.
 
Just North of the Southern border!
In-state kids: we've shown that our program has improved quite a bit and we're finally competitive with our peers (most of them, anyway). Our training facility is done now. I'm expecting serious improvement with our in-state recruiting (doh!), starting with the 2021 class.
Serious improvement with respect to previous IL classes or B10 West teams?

Just took a quick look at 2021 IL kids. Saw a bunch for MI and MN. And a few for ND, IA, WI, etc. None for IL (and so far NW too!!!)
 
you feel me, dog?
Elmhurst
Serious improvement with respect to previous IL classes or B10 West teams?

Just took a quick look at 2021 IL kids. Saw a bunch for MI and MN. And a few for ND, IA, WI, etc. None for IL (and so far NW too!!!)
WRT our recent history recruiting IL preps.
 
I would say it was good and bad. Here are my major takeaways (tell me if you thought different):
1. The big Illinois O lineman have dissapeared
2. The 2020 class was overall weak for the state
3. 2021 have some solid skill position prospects
4. It seems the in state kids were very high on Illinois during the summer
5. It seems like the other schools just kept on these kids more than the IL staff, so they ultimately signed with other schools

The last one was the big WTF moment for me. But at least we had the kids interest at some point..... Let us hope they learn and adjust
if true, #5 is mind-boggling...
 
Likes: illinifan4249
Agreed that Illinois was 6-6 and they earned it. But when assessing expectations for next year, I hope nobody considers 6-6 to be the team's floor. The team could improve next year and still end up at 6-6.
I certainly consider 6-6 to be the team's floor. I don't choose to go the what if route, but I cannot imagine the Illini winning less than 8 games in the 2020 season. I am optimistic that the team won't be so decimated by injury like last year. Hanson, Wole, the two receivers, Beason, etc.... I also think the coaches will use their non starters this year preparing them for the next man up approach. Isaiah Williams, Cumby, D Campbell and others were not properly used last year. That has to change.
 
Cincinnati, OH
It feels like the relationship between the Illinois football staff (and past staffs) and Illinois high school coaches has been chilly for around a decade. I am always cautious about casting the blame on whoever (conclusion: both are at fault). But if there are questions about effort, that's inexcusable.