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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:

Alabama: 11
USC: 10
Florida: 6
Illinois: 5

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:


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.


illiniranger April 27th, 2012

i’ve not been a huge fan of illinois running the spread. not that i think there is anything inherently wrong with no-huddle 3 and 4 WR sets — just look at oregon. my concern has been, can we recruit to it? some critics make fun of iowa, MSU, wiscy’s offense as being “archaic” or “boring.” when you run that though, you only need 1-2 WRs, a couple of big TEs that can block, and 1-2 solid RBs a year. THAT is something you can recruit at illinois. trying to get 4-5 WRs a mobile QB, an athletic hybrid type TE, and 2 RBs consistently given our historical issues recruiting in state? i’m not sold.
with that said, aaron bailey is a PERFECT fit for this offense. it’s like he was tailor made to fit in as the QB of this system. this is a huge get for the coaching staff and i am really happy that he is coming here.

Joe John April 27th, 2012

First, I’ve never mentioned Aaron Bailey’s name once on this site. Second, he completed 58-131 passes last year. Third, watch what I watched:
Its amazing the level of homerdom here sometimes. You get labelled a hater simply by saying he’s not going to play QB his frosh year. I think he’s the level of athlete you need to recruit, just not a QB. Ohio State thought the same thing.
Is Urban Meyer also a hater?

This is from the last thread…I have no idea why Robert is not letting it be posted.

PittsburghNellie April 27th, 2012

We kinda have to run the spread if we want to have any type of advantage. Eventually, if this system works and the program rises to a new level, then you can try to run a basic pro style offense. Until then, you just have to hope this system works and recruiting builds each year.

illiniranger April 28th, 2012

how does running the spread give us an advantage?

Duce20 April 28th, 2012

Not Nellie but to run a pro style or traditional run heavy offense you need lineman that Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, ND and others always beat us out for. Plus by running the spread you force those teams into having 5-6 dbs on the field that all have to be able to cover. That is out of their element so it makes it very difficult for them and gets better players off the field. Lastly it has so many variations it’s very hard to prepare for.

Go ask Purdue and Joe Tiller…

illiniranger April 28th, 2012

deuce, that is the point of the post. i think it is WAY easier for us to recruit big OLINEMAN (hell, the rest of the B1G does from Illinois) than it will be for us to recruit 4-5 WRs that can play. there is not inherent advantage to spread vs. non-spread. there are many football teams that score a lot of points running many different types of offense.
the point that i am trying to make is that it will be difficult for illinois, a team that recruits from a state that produces very few big time WR to consistently recruit to a system that puts a premium on skill position players. look at our WR depth now. it’s darius milines and who else? and we haven’t seen darius prove it on the field consistently.
the spread has a very checkered history in the B1G. you cite Joe Tiller. Joe Tiller had Drew Brees and went to the Rose Bowl. then he had Kyle Orton and won some nice games. then he had Curtis Painter and a bunch of guys that couldn’t get open and he was shown the door. meanwhile Wiscy is running the same offense they have run since Alvarez took over and made 4 Rose Bowls in that time winning two, 1 x RB that won the Heisman trophy and 1 x RB that was a finalist last year. and yet the consistently have “mediocre” recruiting classes.
so, which system has shown itself to be sustainable in the long term? while the spread can be effective, i think in the long run the power rushing attack is much more viable for a B1G offense.

PittsburghNellie April 28th, 2012

-Ranger- Urban Meyer is about to run the spread in the big ten, have a ton of success, and i’m sure will change your mind.
You remember the Ohio State game last year? They had maybe 2 completions and still crushed us at home. And they did it in a very conservative way, not to give away plays to future opponents.
That type of game would happen against every decent defense we’d play if we did things your way. I’m not alright with 6-6 and a bowl every year. I’d rather take a risk and try to take a step up to a higher tier in the Big Ten. Wisconsin and Michigan State have done that recently, they can even dream about a national championship a couple times a decade.

Robert April 28th, 2012

Sorry JoeJohn – I have it set up so that any posts with a link have to be approved by me. And as I noted above, I was away from a keyboard for 24 hours. If I didn’t set it up like that, you’d see dozens of spam comments on every post. I’ve tried other ways to keep the spam posts out, but they always find a way.
Now, back to your finding actual ways to dog the highest-rated Illini recruit in 4 years. A work of art, really. I’m being serious. A national recruit, and you’re actually giving me pause. For a few, brief, terrifying seconds.

illiniranger April 29th, 2012

tOSU to Illinois is an apples to oranges comparison. Ohio produces much, much more football talent a year then Illinois does, especially at the skill positions. plus, tOSU has a national profile and a national coach that will be able to recruit players from places Illinois can’t. same goes for UM. tOSU and UM are national programs that can out-recruit Illinois. hell, UM has one good season after a 4 year stretch in the doldrums and now they have two of the top Illinois OL recruits before April is over.
there is nothing wrong with a spread to run offense, but you have to be able to recruit to it. that is something that tOSU will be able to do. it is one of the main reasons Meyer chose UF over Notre Dame. he had both job offers at the time… one was easier for him to recruit to and that is why he chose it.
see this link from Chris Brown

GrogsBBQPepperoni April 29th, 2012

Sorry Joe John but you totally HAVE mentioned Bailey’s name on this site. To Robert’s parking lot post, the very first response was from one ‘Joe John’ and it started “Bailed sucked in the 8A title game”. At least own up pal.

Joe John April 29th, 2012

Grogs- someone was saying on here that I said Illinois would not get him. I never said that and never mentioned his name before.

Joe John April 29th, 2012

How many top 5 dual threat QBs (as rated by Rivals) have stayed at QB and been good starters for their teams since 2005?

2005- (Perriloux, Christensen, Whitaker, Portis, Reed)..i’ll say 0 for 5 there.
2006- (Tebow, Jones, Snead, Locker, Ricker)…3 of 5.
2007- (Taylor, Newton, Corp, Garcia, Korn)…3 of 5.
2008- (Pryor, Manuel, Gray, Griffin, Scott)…3 of 5.
2009 – (Shepherd, Rollison, Smith, Newsome, Forcier)..1 of 5
2010- (Gardner, Bolden, Brunetti, Franklin, Broadway)..1 of 5
2011 – (Miller, Hundley, Brissett, Walsh, Frazier)…1 of 5 (this is still early)

12 for 35…so can say i’m “dogging” or “hating” whatever…these are the facts. I think Bailey is a great recruit for Illinois…the most important recruit since Juice- no. A 4yr starter at QB…no.

A top notch athlete that will start somewhere for Illinois for 4yrs…yes.

illinifanbobj April 29th, 2012

I don’t think bringing up the past few dual threat QBs is fair. A lot of those guys were recruited by powerhouse teams or teams with that had elite QBs on the roster as a result, they could afford to switch those dual threat guys to other positions. I don’t think Illinois is in that position. After O’Toole graduates(or even before that if O’Toole/Scheelhaase doesn’t work out) Bailey will have to step up. This guy is a better passer than Juice was at the same point of his football career. Just because he had a mediocre performance in the state title game or had a low completion percenage as a high school junior doesn’t mean he will be a terrible QB for Illinois down the road.Young players usually develop and get better , especially those as talented as Bailey. You were really quick the mention the negatives Joe John…

PittsburghNellie April 30th, 2012

You’re listing a bunch of qb’s who aren’t dual threat as well. There’s a difference between a guy who can occasionally scramble and a guy who is a weapon running the football. Bailey has much better playmaking ability with his feet than about 95% of the guys you listed.