Illinois football has a pretty huge game this weekend as Michigan State comes to town trying to spoil Illinois’ Homecoming festivities, but it won’t be the biggest game in town.
Cliff Alexander, a 6’9″ 240 pound power forward in every sense of the term is the nation’s #3 ranked prospect in ESPN’s top 100 for 2014, and he will be taking his final official visit this weekend when he visits Illinois. A commitment from him would be the crowning jewel for Illinois Head Coach John Groce’s 2014 recruiting class that includes a pair of 4 star players in PF Leron Black and PG Quentin Snider, as well as 3 star PF Michael Finke.
Aside from Finke, Black, and Snider, Illinois will have a lot of solid pieces already in place as the entire roster returns except for Joseph Bertrand and Illinois State transfer Jon Ekey, who will have exhausted their respective eligibility with the Fighting Illini.
Securing the services of Quentin Snider and Leron Black was huge because of their skill level and because they are both highly regarded out of state recruits, but getting a commitment from Cliff Alexander would be massive for the Illini. It’s been said that Illinois has always been visible on the recruiting trail when high major type players are involved, but rarely are they seen as an actual threat to secure commitments from those types of players.
All of that would change if Alexander pledged his allegiance to the orange and blue because in one recruiting class John Groce will have closed on the #3, #35, and #41 ranked players on ESPN.com’s Top 100 for 2014, clearly showing that Illinois is a threat to the elite level programs like Duke, Kansas, Louisville and others.
On November 16th, Alexander will announce his decision on which school he will attend from his top 5 list consisting of Illinois, Michigan State, Kansas, Depaul, and Memphis. According to the 247sports.com Crystal Ball Predictions, Alexander is an 84% lock to attend Kansas and become a Jayhawk. Of course, those are insider predictions, and no one really knows for sure except for Alexander where he will wind up, but it seems to me that Illinois is in a great position by being his last official visit to give him one last chance to understand that if he chooses to come to Illinois he will be choosing to become a legend in his home state.
Will he side with what looks like the sure thing in Kansas, or will the chance to be “The Man” both at the University of Illinois, and in the state of Illinois mean more to him and sway his decision away from what the insiders believe will happen?
Hopefully, the football team will start the party by pulling off the upset win over the Spartans Saturday afternoon, and then Alexander can keep it going by announcing that Illinois is his college destination on November 16th.
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