Brandon Huffman, Scout.com National Director of Scouting
“I think from a name standpoint, Lovie Smith is huge in the state of Illinois. It wasn’t that long ago he was coaching the Chicago Bears, who he led to a Super Bowl, so he’s a known name, who’s had NFL success and knows the path to get to the NFL. They’re not bringing in a guy who no one knows. He brings instant credibility from a coaching standpoint and recruiting standpoint because of his past success. The challenge will be, being that he’s a longtime NFL coach, will he be negatively recruited against, with coaches saying ‘first chance he gets to go back to the NFL, he’s gone’. And being that he’s an NFL guy, will he have the energy to recruit and can he make the right hires to bring in recruiters who know the college landscape, the Big Ten recruiting landscape and understand it.”
Allen Trieu, Scout.com Midwest Football Recruiting Manager
"I think Lovie brings instant name recognition. He's coached at the highest level and in big games including a Super Bowl. That all helps in recruiting. I also think, beyond all the recruiting, he's also a very good football coach. There is already immediate excitement from recruits and fans that he is even a possibility. His challenges are the same as the previous Illinois staffs, you have to be able to evaluate and then attract the right talent to help the program turn the corner. Also, he has been out of the college game for awhile so he has to adjust initially to the changes in the way schools recruit now."
Gabe Brooks, Scout.com Midands Recruiting Recruiting Analyst
"Illinois has already been very active in handing out offers in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and greater Houston, but one thing to watch with Lovie taking over is if Illinois will start to recruit East Texas. It's a mostly-rural region with a high per capita rate for FBS prospects and also happens to be Lovie's home region (he's from tiny Big Sandy, Texas, near the 'regional hubs' of Tyler and Longview). East Texas kids generally stay close to home for college, as do most rural kids in Texas. But Lovie's a well-known and beloved figure in East Texas, so it might not hurt for Illinois to send out some offers in a region that isn't typically heavily-recruited by out-of-state programs that are halfway across the country."