Q. & A. With Scout.com Bob Lichtenfels

We all know that Ron Zook is a masterful recruiter; today Bob Lichtenfels took the time to answer a few questions regarding Illini football with InsideIllini.com. Get inside for more Illini football recruiting news and see what he thinks of Illinois along with other Big Ten schools.

Kedric:
With the class that Ron Zook just signed do you think he will do just as well next year?

Bob:
I think Coach Zook will always do well as a recruiter, as you saw in the national championship game a lot of the players that the Florida Gators won with were Zook recruits. He has to continue to land a large portion of the in-state recruits first and foremost and I believe he will do that. Then as the recruiting stabilizes the team will become better as well.

Kedric:
In this years class who do you see being a difference maker?

Bob:
There are quite a few of them, but I guess if I had to point out any, I would select two of them. One on each side of the ball. Martez Wilson, who will be giving quarterbacks fits for years to come in the Big Ten would be my pick on defense. I would choose Arrelious Benn on offense. I think Benn with Juice Williams are going to do big things for the next few years to come. My sleeper pick is Jack Cornell, I think he is going to be special.

Kedric:
In 2001, llinois won a Big Ten Championship, do you think Zook can get them back there and keep them in the top half of the conference for a number of years?

Bob:
I wouldn't say no, but I wouldn't get too carried away over one class either. You have to take into account that teams who are winning in the conference like Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State are still recruiting well and getting stronger. Iowa and Wisconsin are no slouches either. If Illinois can be consistent on the field and continue to recruit well I don't see why they couldn't be in the top half of the conference.

Kedric:
Why do you see players verbal to a school, then have a quick change of heart?

Bob:
There are lots of reasons. Some kids get scared that others may not offer, so they jump at an early offer and then later someone else comes along and offers and the prospect has a change of heart. Sometimes kids get caught up in the moment while on a trip and they make a quick decision without really thinking things out. Sometimes schools will pressure a player into a decision when he is not ready and then he later decides he wanted to go elsewhere.

Kedric:
How did the Big Ten do overall compared to other conference schools when it comes to recruiting?

Bob:
Depends how you view it. Comparatively speaking the Big Ten averaged 19 signees per school, while the SEC averaged 26 that's a big difference. The Big Ten also had two of its major players recruiting with limited scholarships in Ohio State and Penn State. I don't think it was a great year for the conference, but it wasn't bad either.

Kedric:
Just how good is Zook at recruiting?

Bob:
Zook is very good when it comes to recruiting, but any head coach will tell you, you're only as good as your staff is. Zook has done a great job of getting high quality assistants who are great recruiters like Mike Locksley.


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