Slapdash July 2, 2012
When you don’t know what to write about, just start writing.
I sorted our last eight recruiting classes on Rivals to look at which players were ranked in their state. Rivals ranks a different number for each state, based on the historic averages for talent in those states – there’s a top-5 for Delaware, a top-30 for Illinois, top-40 for Pennsylvania, top-100 for Florida, etc. I think that’s a good way of separating the 3-stars (since every recruit seems to get three stars these days). If you’re ranked in your state, there’s a good chance you’ll contribute down the road.
Since 2006, here’s how many state-ranked players we’ve pulled in (from Rivals’ rankings, counting only players who actually showed up on campus):
2013: 11 of the 15 so far
Three things this tells me:
1. In every way possible, the 2008 class was our best recruiting class in history. 22 state-ranked players led to six top-60 NFL draft picks.
2. The 2008 class had 22 state-ranked players; the 2010, 2011, and 2012 classes combined had 26. There’s likely a talent dip coming.
3. 2013 is shaping up to be our best class since 2008. 2009 was great (but small), and top-heavy (two top-100 players in Hawthorne and Green). The 2013 class probably won’t match that, but it likely will have better depth and more contributors. Say we bring in a class of 24 – keep up this pace and it’s likely that 17 or 18 will be state-ranked players.
Big July for Hoops Recruiting
John Groce has finalized his staff (Paris Parham), re-confirmed one 2013 recruit (Malcolm Hill), parted ways with another (Jalen James), and added a center (talk to me, Goose). And with 90 days to get settled in, learn his roster, and study recruits, he’s now primed to go out and finalize the 2013 class. How ’bout another list of three things? Three things John Groce must do:
1. He must get a point guard. Must. This winter, we can spell Tracy Abrams with Brandon Paul here and there. But after Paul graduates, there’s not another true ballhandler on the roster (and an argument could be made the Abrams isn’t really a “true ballhandler”, either). So in the next four months, John Groce must – MUST – find a point guard. Is that Demetrius Jackson’s music?
2. He must make some recruiting waves. Maybe it’s a verbal from a top-50 2014 or 2015 kid. Maybe it’s pulling Kendrick Nunn to Champaign. Maybe it’s surprising everyone and landing Semi Ojeleye. Maybe it’s finding that player who is about to blow up during the July recruiting period. John Groce needs to land someone in the next five months that kick-starts his recruiting the way Aaron Bailey kick-started things for Tim Beckman.
3. He must save a spot for Jabari. I don’t care if we only have a 7% chance at landing Jabari Parker. Until he’s signed and sealed somewhere else, we leave a scholarship open for him.
2015 Rose Bowl
It already feels ridiculous to even type it. Getting to the Rose Bowl is such an impossible thing for a school like Illinois. Iowa hasn’t been there since 1990. Michigan State hasn’t been there since 1987. We should feel extremely fortunate that we were repaid for our 2001 miss with a 2007 trip. Getting to the Big Ten title game, and then winning the Big Ten title game, probably makes the next trip to Pasadena even harder.
THAT SAID, I’m already putting together the roster for our 2015 Rose Bowl trip. It’s, like, totally gonna happen. Here’s the players I’ve written in ink for that team.
QB: Aaron Bailey
RB: Josh Ferguson
OL: Pat Flavin, Teddy Karras (let’s get them on the field soon, because every Rose Bowl team needs experienced senior offensive linemen)
DE: Jarrod Clements, Darrius Caldwell
DT: Kenton Gibbs, Teko Powell
LB: TJ Neal, TaJarvis Fuller
CB: Darius Mosely
S: Caleb Day
Wow. When I put it like that, we’re recruiting some fantastic defenses for the future. I love what I’ve seen from Caldwell and Fuller so far, and guys like Mosely and Day are legitimate Big Ten where-do-Wisconsin-and-Michigan-State-find-these-guys athletes.
On offense, um, anyone want to play with Aaron Bailey? He’s really good and stuff.