Will Locksley loss hurt Illinois?

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Offensive coordinator and chief recruiter Mike Locksley's decision to leave coach Ron Zook's staff and became the new head coach at New Mexico could have some immediate consequences for Illinois recruiting.

Locksley is an excellent recruiter, one of the top 20 in the country. He has a knack for establishing a rapport with recruits. He dominated the Washington D.C./Maryland area. He landed Arrelious Benn and Vontae Davis, two of Illinois' best players. It will be difficult to attract prospects from that area without him.

For example, Locksley was close to two of the top 100 players in the country, offensive lineman Peter White and linebacker Jelani Jenkins, both from the Washington D.C./Maryland region. They are expected to announce their commitments at the U.S. Army All-American game in San Antonio next month. Illinois is in the mix for both of them but the loss of Locksley could hurt.

What Illinois needs to do to fill the gap left of Locksley's departure is to hire a good recruiter who can go into his own area, no matter where it is, and make a difference, as Locksley did in Washington D.C./Maryland.

An ugly rumor that surfaced on Illini radio the other day had former Illinois coach Mike White coming back to Champaign-Urbana. I wonder how athletic director Ron Guenther would react to that scenario.

Remember, White took Illinois to the Rose Bowl in 1983. But he also was charged with major recruiting violations in 1983 and 1987 by the NCAA. For those indiscretions, Illinois was placed on probation. In fact, it came close to receiving a death penalty. I don't think the Illini want to tread down that path again.

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4 Comments

WHEN YOU HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO ATTEND U OF I AND PLAY
IN THE BIG TEN, NEW MEXICO ISN'T AN OPTION, MIKE
LOCKSLEY IS A GREAT GUY, AND HE WILL BE MISSED, BUT
IF A RECRUIT HAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY FOR THE BLUE
AND ORANGE, IT'S A NO-BRAINER!
CONGRATS TO COACH MIKE LOCKSLEY AND HIS FAMILY ON BEING
NAMED HEAD COACH AT NEW MEXICO!
THE U OF I FAMILY WILL NEVER FORGET THE GREAT JOB YOU
DID FOR THE UNIVERSITY!

I think he met those recruits trusted and have a good relationship with mike that with him leaving they are no longer have any ties to the illini with locks leaving. Not that they would pick new mexico now it jsut that the other schools that were in the mix with illinois will get a harder look now that close friend and recruiter locks is gone from illinois

NOW WE KNOW WHY ILLINOIS LOST TO NORTHWESTERN AT THE
END OF THE SEASON, MARTEZ WILSON WAS BENCHED, LAST
NIGHT HE WAS THE VICTIM OF BEING STABBED AT A LOCATION
IN CHAMPAIGN-URBANA!
I PRAY HE GETS HIS LIFE TOGETHER, HE WILL BE A JUNIOR
NEXT SEASON, HE IS RUNNING OUT OF TIME, HE CAME TO
THE FIGHTING ILLINI WITH ALL-AMERICA CREDENTIALS!

Illinois lost to NU because Martez was benched? Did you even watch the game? More importantly, have you watched Martez play at all this year? Martez would not have made one bit of difference the way he has played. NU won because they play better as a Team, because they have a better head coach and coaching staff who know how to motivate and develop players. Zook on the other hand cannot do anything but recruit and even that quality will be tested now that Locksley is gone. My guess is that Zook either leaves or will be fired from Illinois within the next 1-2 years.

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This page contains a single entry by Second Season published on December 11, 2008 2:41 PM.

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