Golden Opportunity

The game against Cincinnati this weekend is big for several reasons. A strong performance on the field has the chance of impressing several key visitors who will be at the game.

Our State...

After storms kept almost all Chicago-area recruits in town last weekend, many are back out on the road, and a lot of them are headed to Illinois.

One of the headliners is 2015 Benet Academy quarterback Jack Beneventi. The 6'6" signal caller who turned around a 2-10 Benet program and led them to a state semifinal game last year is one of the top five quarterbacks in the nation according to the recently-released FOXSportsNEXT 300 for 2015. He'll be one of the most highly-coveted signal callers in the nation, so getting him on campus is important.

Just a few minutes from Benet, Downers Grove North also is the home of a talented junior quarterback in David Edwards. Edwards had family that played at Illinois (former safety Garrett Edwards). Edwards is more of an option quarterback compared to Beneventi, who's a pocket passer, but both are tall in stature and very capable. Both also have offers.

Rounding out the 2015 quarterback group is Champaign product Jimmy Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald, who earned an offer from Illinois this summer after a strong camp performance, is as local as local gets. With both Aaron Bailey and Wes Lunt already on the roster, quarterback is one of the most talented positions at Illinois, and these three give the Illini a reason to believe that the tradition could continue into the future.

Headlining the running back group is 2015 DeKalb running back Dre Brown. Brown has been high on Illinois for a long time, and he remains one of Illinois' most important targets in 2015. Might be premature to put him on commitment watch, and he'll be watching the team's progress closely, but it's not outside of the realm of possibility.

At the receiver spot, all eyes will be on Miles Boykin. The Providence Catholic WR got his first offer from Illinois and that stood out to him. He intended to visit last weekend but will make it down this weekend. At 6'4" and 210 pounds, he's a physically dominant player and a huge target.

Offensive line is a big priority for Illinois. A few big targets from central Illinois will be on hand for the game, too. Jacksonville's Gabe Megginson and Sacred Heart Griffin's Quinn Oseland are two massive offensive linemen who Illinois is strongly pursuing. Both are in the 6'6" 300 pound range and project at tackle.

Rounding out the in-state contingent is a pair of defenders. Bolingbrook defensive tackle/defensive end Micah Dew-Treadway is a guy who camped at Illinois and seems to like the Illini. He doesn't have an offer yet, but one could be coming to join Mississippi State in the hunt.

Linebacker Jack Hockaday is also expected to be on hand Saturday. A product of Maroa-Forsyth High School just north of Decatur, Hockaday does it all for his high school team, but his college projection is an outside linebacker/safety hybrid (STAR). He's collected a couple of other Big Ten offers, and an Illinois one could be coming soon.

Still in "Illini Nation"

Tim Beckman refers to the recruiting area within a five-hour radius of Champaign as "Illini Nation" and some important prospects from that region are going to be coming in.

2014 offensive tackle Nick Padla from Michigan is a big offensive tackle with a great frame that doesn't carry a lot of wasted weight. He's being recruited by Michigan State among others, but Illinois has offered and the Spartans haven't. Could that be the difference?

The Bearcats aren't the only football players from the Natti coming to town. Also coming in is 2015 defensive tackle Simeon Lane from Cincinnati St. Xavier. Illinois again was first to offer Lane, and that sticks out to him. He's sure to garner plenty more attention before all is said and done, but him coming to Champaign this year can only help.

Rounding out the group is 2015 Wisconsin native Jon Dietzen, another one of those 6'5" 300 pound offensive linemen. He already has offers from Wisconsin and Nebraska, so an Illinois offer might happen this weekend too.

Oh, Brother

Junior college receiver and cornerback Tyrin Stone-Davis and Tyree Stone-Davis (respectively) are expected to be in town this weekend to catch their future team in action. The two are redshirting this year at their junior college to preserve a total of three years of eligibility at Illinois. Both are hoping (and expected) to step in early in their time at Illinois.

Oh, and..

There's some basketball recruit named Quentin Snider visiting, too. Heard of him?

IlliniPlaybook will be on hand for thorough coverage of the visitors on hand as well as the game so keep checking in.

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