The state of Indiana hasn’t exactly been a friendly recruiting ground for the Illinois football program.
It is hard to think of a solid player who has picked the Illini from the state of Indiana. When we do get Indiana players, they are usually via the transfer portal – see Jeff George and Brandon Peters.
But what Brad Underwood of the Illinois basketball program has shown us, the state of Indiana is available, and we shouldn’t stray away from the talent in the Hoosier state. Just look at how he went into Fort Wayne, Indiana and snagged one of the best players in the state in Luke Goode. That can happen with the football team too.
Bret Bielema might be catching some of that Hoosier hysteria as Illinois football is now targeting one of the best arms in the state of Indiana. On Friday, the Illini offered a scholarship to Danny O’Neil.
O’Neil is a 6-foot, 185-pound quarterback from Cathedral High School and resides in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is rated as a three-star recruit and ranked as the No. 388 player in the class of 2024. O’Neil is also the No. 33 quarterback in the nation and the No. 4 player coming out of Indiana.
Illinois football could always use more help at the quarterback position in the future.
It might be a tough ask for Illinois to compete in the O’Neil sweepstakes despite the fact it would be nice to tap into the Indiana pipeline. O’Neil currently has roughly eight scholarship offers, but 247Sports has Indiana, Kentucky, and Purdue as “warm” for his commitment. There was also a prediction submitted for O’Neil to land with the Wildcats with a confidence of six out of 10 back in June.
Honestly, I would take that prediction with a grain of salt. A six out of 10 is not very confident, so I think O’Neil’s recruitment is still open. That means Illinois might be able to make up some ground in the next year or so. It is good that he is in the class of 2024. This gives the Illini some time.
Adding a player like O’Neil would be big for the program as well. The Illinois quarterback situation seems to be planned out for the next couple of years, but after that, anything goes.
Tommy DeVito has the reins this year at quarterback. He will then depart and, I assume, Artur Sitkowski takes over for his final year in Champaign. By 2024, who knows who will emerge as a viable starting option. Samari Collier has been waiting in the wings for a couple of years now. Personally, I like the potential of incoming freshman Donovan Leary getting the nod in 2024.
Illinois needs more quarterback talent regardless of who is starting in 2024. If we can land O’Neil, maybe he would even get a chance to win the job. Over the next year, we will see if we can seriously get into the O’Neil recruitment. Hopefully, Bielema can work some magic.