John Callas, a successful attorney in Illinois and a graduate from the University of Illinois, did not like what he read in the New York Times regarding the Illini's fine recruiting class.
This story was quoted by saying, "Among those likely to sign with Illinois is Martez Wilson, a defensive end from Chicago who is seen as the country's top prospect at that position." I was confused by that statement and here's why - the last I checked Chicago was in the State of Illinois. Most college recruiters football or basketball try to take care of their home state and then recruit elsewhere; Zook did that. Callas agreed and said, "It's a class university. It's not like we're second-class citizens. There's nothing wrong with kids wanting to play for Illinois. Those that know Zook understand he's exciting, he's fun. Why wouldn't athletes want to play for him?"
Everyone who knows anything about college football knows that Florida's Head Coach Urban Meyer won the national title game with Zook's players (ones that he recruited). People are so quick to judge Zook as a coach, not understanding that most coaches get the chance to fulfill their four or five year contract. This recruiting class is one of the nation's best. I've talked with guys that Zook recruits, and the bottom line is this - they love him.
"I really take mild offense to that article. I don't see any difference between South Bend, Lincoln, Nebraska or Columbus, Ohio. It's not like you're comparing Champaign to Los Angeles or Las Vegas," said Callas. For some it appears that Illinois shouldn't go toe to toe with the "big boys" when it comes to recruiting. Well my advice is that they need to do a better job because Zook is aggressive and works hard. One would think a former colleague like John L. Smith, the former coach of the Michigan State Spartans, would understand that, but to make a quote like he did surprised me: "If they had a winning program and all of that, it would be a different deal. If they had the greatest facilities in the world, then maybe they could sell them. But what are they selling?" Zook is selling a proud university and doing it the right way.
"I don't see what the problem is. We should be on radar with the top talent in the state, and in the mix with those from other states. Why wouldn't a kid want to play in the spread offense? It's exciting - Zook is good at what he does," Callas stated.
Illinois is in great hands with Zook. He's doing what others (Iowa, Ohio State and Michigan) have done for a long, long time - and that's getting the best players available in the State of Illinois. I'll leave you with this thought: Why is it okay for a stud like Robert Hughes to not attend Illinois, but it is okay for him to commit to Notre Dame? Not a word was said about it, but the last I checked Hughes is from Chicago which is in the State of Illinois.