Thursday, February 02, 2012

Beckman's Signing Day

Coach Beck and his new staff completed their first Illini signing day Wednesday, with 19 players sending in their National Letters of Intent. With two guys already on campus, and a committed walk-on, 22 guys will join Beckman's first Illini team.

These boys are mostly 2 and 3 star recruits, but that's to be expected with a coaching transition. Beckman's influence is evident in that 6 guys are from Ohio, but the link to Florida remains strong, with 5 players from that state.

It will be interesting to see if Beckman places a greater focus on Illinois kids in the coming years. Four players are from Illinois, as was the one that got away, an Edwardsville product who chose Nebraska. The Iowa Hawkeyes took a couple suburban Chicago kids, as did Northwestern.

This class includes 3 running backs, a couple linemen from each side of the ball, a wide reciever, a tight end, 9 defensive players, a kicker and a local longsnapper (the committed walk-on). After seeing how the defense has played the past couple years, I look forward to seeing if Beckman's team can get the same kind of production out of these kids.

ESPNU ranked the Illini recruiting class at the bottom of the Big Ten, and based on the success of the top-tier teams in the conference (Michigan, Ohio State, MSU, Wisconsin, Nebraska, etc.), it will likely take a couple years to see if Beckman can build a competitive team.

But the players are genuinely excited about playing for Coach Beck in orange and blue, and that counts for a lot.

Welcome to Illini nation, boys! Go Illini!


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