Ask the Experts: Football Recap

Recapping the recent Ask the Experts: Football Recruiting thread from the premium message board.

Fletcher - I'll start off with... What kind of reaction or attention has the addition of high profile names like Aaron Bailey and Wes Lunt done for kids around the state and potentially those on offense?

Beth Long: Good question. I think it has had a very positive impact, espeically because these two high profile kids are both QBs. That has helped lots on offense IMO, and keeping some talented kids in state. As these two start taking the field over the next couple years, it will help even more. Plus, it fits in with the "our team our state" motto that the staff is building.

HHSILLINI - Do you think the Illini end up with either Sykes or Westphal if they can win 4-5 games?

Allen Trieu: Nile Sykes they have the better chance with. Westphal, you can't count out because of his relationship with Aaron Bailey. They need to get him, well both of them, on campus for some games. I still see Parrker as a longshot though.

Long: I think the staff can get Sykes if they really want him, he's not been very active on the recruiting trail. I think their main competition are Iowa State and Syracuse.

Westphal is a possibility -- he's not out but it would be quite a coup to get him. If Aaron Bailey has a great experience and is in his ear though, it isn't completely out of the picture for him to choose Illinois.

IflyIllini - What is the staff focused on position wise with the remaining 2014 scholarships? Do you foresee them continuing to look heavily at JuCo prospects to fill gaps?

Trieu: Offensive tackle is a big need. They are still on a couple of defensive ends too, but I'd say offensive tackle would be the big one right now. I think they'll continue to take JUCO guys at positions they need help at right away, like wide receiver was a big one. However, the more that they can bring in high school guys who fit the system and develop them, I expect the need for JUCO kids to lessen.

ILLINIJOE23 - How many spots do we have left for this class? Who do you think is still in play to round out the class? Also I read a recent article suggesting the staff has a little momentum with the 2015 class even though we dont have a commit. I would be really really excited if we could land WR Miles Boykin before any of the big boys get involved.

Trieu: I don't know the exact number. However, it was a fairly big class last year and it's a young team. Looking at the roster, there are only 15 seniors and not all of those guys are on scholarship, so I wouldn't expect a big class. I'll see if I can figure out or find out an exact number though. I'll answer the still in play as there's a question on that below.

As for 2015, I do think there is some early momentum just simply by being on top of it and being the first school in on several guys, like Boykin, who you mentioned. The Illini had a lot of 2015 in-state kids on campus this summer too, guys like Gabe Megginson and Leonard Ross, so they're setting themselves up pretty nicely in-state.

Long: Boykin is a big one, but the staff has also done good work with Flynn Nagel, David Edwards, Gabe Megginson, Jack Beneventi and identifying plenty of other talented 2015 kids like Leonard Ross and more.

bermey52 Can you inpoint any prospects any of the coaches are heavily recruiting/ spending a lot of time on? Its probably a tough question for football recruiting, I would think.

How's it looking for us and Sam Wren?

Trieu: I think, right now, one of the key prospects is Nick Padla. He added an Illinois offer and has been to campus twice this summer. As I mentioned, offensive tackle is a big need and he's the most realistic guy on the board right now.

ILLINIJOE23 - What kind of season do you think we need to have to get a 2015 recruiting class somewhere in the top half of the B1G and top 30 in the nation. Do you think we have the staff to do it? Personally I think we do.

Long: I think the key is just showing improvement. Showing improvement in the record as well as the offense and defense overall. And yes, the staff is in place to do it in my opinion.

calibear64 - Is there any kids from the south showing real interest in the team? Can you name any names? What kind of pursuit are the coaches showing for ot's and de's and possibly a big power back in the jc ranks?

Trieu: As of now, nothing much going on down South or in the JUCO ranks at those positions. Now, if you look at last year's class, four of the five JUCO commits happened in November-December, so I think, again, you'll see the coaches take part of the season to see who legit targets are. The same actually with some southern kids. D.J. Taylor, James Crawford and Paul James, all from Florida, all committed in the Winter last year.


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