34 Minutes April 27, 2012
A day like yesterday happens, and I have 34 minutes to blog. 34 minutes until I have to leave and won’t be near a computer for 24 hours. Having a job sucks. Why can’t I just dream about Illini sports all day? WHY DO I NEED MONEY AND FOOD?
Now I have 33 minutes to tell you everything you wanted to know about how I feel about the last 48 hours. 32 minutes and 45 seconds. I best just start typing.
Rayvonte Rice to Illinois
I’m a huge fan of this move. With Crandall Head leaving, Meyers Leonard off to the NBA, Michael Orris de-committing, and DJ, BP3, and Grif graduating, we have lots of room to get creative with the 2013 class. Adding a transfer from the MVC might be a questionable move if you’ve only got one or two scholarships left, but we can add Rice AND have three more scholarships to give.
I’ve watched him play a few times, and my main reaction is this: he’s kind of that pest that you hate to play against. He’s that guy that always ends up with the loose ball with 45 seconds left. He’s not the perfect height for a Big Ten wing (6′-4″ and 240 pounds), but he can overpower you and get into the lane (to the tune of 16.8 points per game last year at Drake). But the thing I love the most are his other statistics: 11th in the MVC in rebounding (for a wing guard). 1st in the MVC in steals. I think this is the perfect glue guy for the 13/14 and 14/15 teams. And who knows – he might just be our leading scorer.
With those last three scholarships, I think we do this: One is hidden in a desk drawer somewhere in an envelope with the words “do not open unless your name is Jabari Parker”. One goes to Kendrick Nunn (or someone else who is a hired-gun shooter), and the third goes to a big (Gavin Schilling? Tony Farmer? Devin Williams?). And if Parker ends up elsewhere, give that one to another big as well.
Whit to the Texans, AJ to the Niners
All we do is put players in the first round.
No, seriously, all we do is put players in the first round.
First round picks by school since 2008:
Both exhilarating and infuriating, right? Lots of first round talent since 2008 – and a 22-28 record.
But Tim Beckman is sitting in a pretty good position right now. He can turn to high school defensive linemen and tell them how Keith Gilmore put Corey Liuget and Whitney the Mercilus in the first round. He can turn to Laquon Treadwell and tell him that if AJ Jenkins can go from Illinois to the first round, he can do the same. And he can walk into every living room and say “Alabama, USC, Florida… Illinois.” With a straight face.
So congrats to Whitney and AJ. I think I speak for all Illinois fans when I say we’re crazy excited for you both. And I’d like to take just a moment to say something about Paul Petrino: after AJ cleaned out his locker and moved home after the 2009 season, he met with Zook and Petrino about the new offense we’d be installing. And if I remember correctly, Petrino said that he would not only feature AJ if he came back, but that he’d put him in the draft. Good work, Paul. Oh – sorry about your brother and all.
And one more thing as well about the good position Tim Beckman is sitting in:
AARON BAILEY TO ILLINOIS
From 12 days ago, in my whiny “Alviti to Northwestern isn’t FAIR” post:
OK, I need to go to bed. And dream of 4-star quarterbacks coming to Champaign. Aaron Bailey, a weary Illini nation turns our eyes to you.
And he LISTENED. If I didn’t have to leave in 11 minutes, I could type 2,000 words on this subject. My mind is ablaze with trying to figure out which my my 34 thoughts to type out. I’ll start here.
In the last 30 years, I think the order of “top-5 Illini QB recruits” goes like this:
1. Jeff George
2. Juice Williams
3. Aaron Bailey
4. Nathan Scheelhaase
5. Jeff Hecklinski
In the last 15 years, I think the list of “Baker’s Dozen of the Top Illini Recruits” goes like this:
1. Arrelious Benn
2. Martez Wilson
3. Rashard Mendenhall
4. Martin O’Donnell
5. Melvin Alaeze
6. Terry Hawthorne
7. Justin Green
8. Juice Williams
9. Aaron Bailey
10. Corey Liuget
11. Josh Brent
12. Ismail Abdufani
13. Nathan Scheelhaase
This is a big, big deal. Similar to when Juice verballed to Illinois on May 28, 2005. Zook was new on the job, recruiting started slowly, and then BAM the #3 QB on Rivals (#6 QB on Scout) verbals and the class takes off. Yesterday? BAM the #4 QB on Rivals (#6 QB on Scout) verbals, and now the class should take off.
(I’m in this total panic now – I have, like 4 minutes left).
I think he’s the perfect QB for this spread. I think he has enough arm that, although he doesn’t use it in high school, he can be groomed to be a fantastic college QB. I think he’s the best runner of any QB we’ve ever recruited in 120 some years of Illini football. I think he’ll have a 200 yard rushing game. Maybe several.
And I think we can build an entire recruiting class around him. I think crazy-good in-state players might actually listen when we call. I think we might be able to land one of the top in-state tackles.
I think I’m out of time. I’ll have to add more words later about Bailey. But I’ll just say this: he’s the biggest Illini recruit to verbal during the Obama Administration. Football or Basketball. This is a huge, huge deal.
Great, now I’m late. Go Illini.