March 2008 Archives

No. 1 player of 2010

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In 30 years of evaluating high school football talent, I've never singled out an offensive lineman as the No. 1 player in the nation--until now.

Orlando Pace, Jonathan Ogden and Bill Fralic came close. But no cigar.

In my view, 6-7, 300-pound offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson of Cretin-Derham High School in St. Paul, Minn., is the No. 1 player in the class of 2010.

Zook's best class yet?

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Illinois could be setting itself up for signing the best recruiting class under coach Ron Zook, the best since the Mike White era in the early 1980s.

The Illini don't have any major commitments yet but they are in on more big-time prospects this year than ever before. Two years ago, virtually no one was talking about the Illini when I made my trips around the country. Now several top-rated players from Florida and North and South Carolina are mentioning the Illini in a serious tone.

Illini in the Carolinas

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Everywhere I go in my travels to meet and evaluate the best football players in the country, Illinois' staff has already been there. The Illini have to be among the top two or three schools in the nation in offering scholarships. They have offered more than anyone else in the Big Ten.

No doubt about it, coach Ron Zook and his staff have graduated from being Illinois recruiters to being national recruiters, which is the next step when you are successful.

Early reports indicate that Illinois and Ohio State coaches are popping up everywhere. The two conferences that seem to be dominating nationally are the ACC and the SEC. So the Big Ten must catch up.

Illini in the Sunshine State

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Judging by the talent level in the Midwest next fall, Big Ten schools will have to focus their recruiting nationally if they hope to compete with the SEC, Big 12 and Pac-10.

Early observations and evaluations from the Midwest indicated that it isn't heavy in talent. Michigan's No. 1 prospect in 6-4, 300-pound tackle William Campbell of Detroit.

There are several good players in Illinois but no great ones. Glenbard West lineman Chris Watt and Morgan Park defensive end Craig Drummond are the two most sought after prospects. Jon Budmayr of Marian Central and Evan Watkins of Glenbard North are the best of a good crop of quarterbacks.

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