The hiring of former Texas Christian assistant coach Mike Schultz to succeed Mike Locksley as Illinois' offensive coordinator and quarterback coach, might signal a change in Illini coach Ron Zook's recruiting scheme.
Schultz, who coached All-NFL running back LaDainian Tomlinson at TCU, built an impressive reputation as a recruiter during his 11 years at the Texas school. He was especially effective in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, usually a gold mine for high school talent.
So look for Illinois to focus on that area in the future, moreso than the Virginia Tidewater, Maryland and Washington D.C. region where Locksley made his mark in recent years. There is more talent in Dallas/Fort Worth but also more competition to recruit players from Texas and Oklahoma.
Three Chicago area products who stood out at the U.S. Army junior combine last week were Notre Dame-bound offensive lineman Christian Lombard of Fremd, who is ranked No. 5 in the nation by Rivals.com, and quarterbacks John Whitelaw of Hinsdale Central and Chandler Whitmer of Downers Grove South, who has been offered by Illinois.
Others were impressed were quarterback Jake Heaps of Issaquah, Wash., the top-rated junior in the nation according to Rivals.com, 6-4, 300-pound defensive lineman Nick Acree of King William, Va., running backs Michael Dyer of Little Rock, Ark., and Lache Seastrunk of Temple, Texas, quarterback Ryan Kansdorf of Sherman Oaks, Calif., and 6-8, 280-pound defensive lineman Robert Crisp of Chapel Hill, N.C.
Notre Dame, making a late bid to climb back into the top 10 in the recruiting sweepstakes, is pursuing running back Tyler Gaffney, the player of the year in the San Diego area, and linebacker Mant'i Teo of Hawaii, who also is considering USC, BYU and UCLA.