The staff of Writing Illini takes a look into the recruiting of the Illinois Fighting Illini. The guys discuss whether or not commits of the Illini can be a positive influence on swaying fellow recruits into picking Illinois over other teams.
Austin: When a team gets some top tier commits, others are likely to follow. Whether it is in basketball or football, when one comes, others will surely follow. So many teams that become powerhouses start with just one person. Illinois knows this and that is why the 2014 recruiting class is so important to John Groce and company. If they are able to get someone like Okafor or Alexander, others are more likely to come, simply because guys want to play with the best. Same goes for football, and we have already seen that. Two good recruits since Wes Lunt committed tells me that things are pointing in the right direction recruiting wise, and can only get better.
Ryan: The quality of fellow commits can certainly aid in the recruiting of future commits, and one needs to look no further than Kentucky Basketball as a shining example of this principle in action. Every season it seems like they pull in the top ranked recruiting class in the country because great players want to play with other great players and augment their chances of winning a championship.
In the case of Illinois Football, gaining Wes Lunt’s commitment was a major step in the right direction of attaining future offensive skill players. During one of Lunt’s first interviews he mentioned the name Malik Turner, and the next thing you know Turner is an Illini commit. I have a strong feeling that this is only the beginning of Lunt’s impact on the program, but it provides a real life example of the impact a potential star commitment can have on the recruiting front.
Ricky: Yes, fellow commits of the Illini can help the team on the recruiting front, but they are not the end all be all of recruiting. In the end, it comes down to how successful the team is moving forward and what kind of a setting the head coach has placed moving into the future. Illinois’ basketball team is a perfect example of this. Head coach John Groce was able to grab five commits from the Class of 2013 and all of them were in the top 200 (two in the top 100). These recruits might have talked to one another, but the main reason why they chose Illinois was because they thought they could be successful in the Orange and Blue.
Two examples from college basketball and the NBA are Michigan’s Fab Five and the Big 3 of the Miami Heat. The Fab Five talked to each other and recruited each other to Michigan, but why? Because they thought they could win in Ann Arbor. For the Miami Heat, Dwyane Wade recruited LeBron James to Miami in the hopes of winning multiple championships. Without the possibility of success, neither of those two teams would be the same. In the end, future success trumps all in recruiting. Why do you think the SEC gets great talent in football and Kentucky gets great talent in basketball? Possible success.
What do you think, Illini Nation? Can fellow Illinois commits help the team out with recruiting?
The Writing Illini staff includes lead editor Ricky Widmer along with staff writers, Austin Jabs and Ryan Kraemer.
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