We probably could go after 25% of the Division I athletes in Illinois.Evanston Cat is a regular poster on many of the NU Boards, you can join the discussion here by clicking here...
As it is, we are very active in state this year. We've already landed 4 Illinois players, which to me is a bit more than I would want. Not to mention, we're still active with guys like Tim Jamison, Sam Carson, Marques Walton, Marcus Randle El, and Nate Lyles.
But, understand this -- we MUST recruit nationally. The pool of eligible athletes in Illinois is much to small for us to focus on. We need to have a national recruiting base.
I never really understood the obsession of some folks to go after Illinois. The day we have anything close to half our players from Illinois, is the day we've returned to the Dark Ages.
Look at the Illini to see what crappy in-state talent does for you. Illinois talent is somewhat overrated. I'd much rather bring in players like Ross Lane, who has been overlooked somewhat in a football rich state like Florida, but whom Pool said would be one of the top players in Illinois if he lived here.
As it is, I'm beginning to trust Walker's judgment on recruits (and/or his ability to develop players, outside of QB it seems). Sure we have our busts, but most of our players are actually quite solid, relative to even Barnett's years, where there were defintely a lot of duds on the roster, regardless of how heralded they were as recruits. The depth we're beginning to see across all positions is indicative. And, he seems to really have a knack for finding kids who aren't that heavily recruited, but turn out to be real gems (e.g. Price, Ward, McGarigle, Rees, Philmore, Heinz). He has yet to bring in a kid at NU to match his greatest find of all -- finding Lawrence Taylor at UNC who had one other scholarship offer from William & Mary.
Not to mention another fallacy embraced by most folks, which I do not agree with -- recruiting athletes versus position players. I think this is a terrific strategy and one that has done wonders at the SEC and Big 12 schools. The formula is to recruit the best athletes possible and teach them to play the Division I position that makes sense regardless of where they played in HS. HS TE's have great agility to turn into and quick OL and pulling tackles. Bring in kids with speed and bulk them up. Take RBs and QBs, who tend to be any team's best athletes and make them fight it out for PT. Those who don't survive, bring to other areas, like the secondary. I can tell you that kids like Stuckey and Ayeni are some of the best DBs that we have ever had. And Blackmon (QB), Bates (QB), Covington (RB), Simmons (RB), were all players that ended up at other positions other than what they played and were recruited out of HS.
Mikero probably disagrees with me, but I'm beginning to see the light when it comes to Walker's formula and ability to bring in the right talent he can work with.
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