Apparently disturbed by news that none of the leading football prospects in Illinois in the class of 2010 might commit to the University of Illinois, a few Illini fans e-mailed to ask how such a thing could happen.
At this time--all of them can change their minds, of course, between now and signing day next February--neither tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz of Johnsburg nor defensive end Chance Carter of Loyola lists Illinois among their finalists.
Offensive lineman Christian Lombard of Fremd has committed to Notre Dame. Wide receiver Kyle Prater of Proviso West and quarterback Chandler Whitmer of Downers Grove South are considering Illinois. And defensive back Corey Cooper of Proviso East committed to Illinois as a sophomore but is visiting other schools.
Illinois coach Ron Zook is universally recognized as one of the premier recruiters in college football. But he admits it is most difficult to recruit within your home state because you always are open to criticism from high school coaches, alumni and fans who insist you overlooked a player here or there or in-between.
Zook has recruited effectively in Illinois--he lists eight Illinois products on his spring depth chart for the 2009 season, more than any other school in the Midwest--but he also hedges his bets by also recruiting players in Florida, Texas and Maryland. He also has offered prospects in the class of 2010 in Michigan and Ohio.
A check of the spring depth charts of Big 10 schools and Notre Dame reveals that Illinois lists eight in-state products in the starting lineup. Iowa and Northwestern have five starters from Illinois, Wisconsin three, Michigan two. No other school has more than one.
Illinois: Juice Williams, QB; Michael Hoomanawanui, TE; Jeff Allen, OT; Jon Asamoah, OG; Doug Pilcher, DE; Russell Ellington, LB; Martez Wilson, LB; Garrett Edwards, S.
Iowa: Tony Moeaki, TE; Bryan Bulaga, OT; Dace Richardson, OG; Brett Morse, FB; Kyle Calloway, OT.
Northwestern: Eric Peterman, WR; Rasheed Ward, WR; Sherrick McManis, CB; Doug Bartels, OT; Mike Kafka, QB.
Wisconsin: O'Brien Schofield, DE; Dex Jones, FB; Dan Moore, DT.
Michigan: David Molk, C; David Moosman, OG.
Minnesota: Brandon Green, WR.
Purdue: Dennis Kelly, OT.
Indiana: Matt Mayberry, LB.
Notre Dame: Darius Fleming, LB.
The two high schools with the most starters? Wheaton Warrenville South (Moeaki, Richardson) and Hinsdale Central (Pilcher, Morse).
But one of the smallest schools in the mix, Montini, has one starter (Jones) and second-string defensive tackle Garrett Goebel, a redshirt freshman and the only Illinois product on Ohio State's roster.