I understand Illini Nation is concerned over what some tribal members perceive as coach Ron Zook's inability to attract blue-chip recruits. Even before Proviso West's Kyle Prater chose USC over Illinois and the Illini were crunched by Missouri, they were complaining about the lack of commitments.
Here are some of the numbers they are concerned about:
Illinois has nine commitments, including three 4-star players. That is the lowest figure in the Big 10. Indiana has 22 commitments, Michigan 18, Penn State 15, Wisconsin 13, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota and Ohio State 12 each.
Nationally, Oklahoma has 23 commitments, LSU 22, Alabama 21, Virginia Tech and Texas 19 each, Georgia 18, Tennessee 16, Florida 15 and USC and Notre Dame 14 each.
Don't worry about it.
My advice? Stay off Illiniboard.com. Fans habitually and traditionally overract over this issue. Other schools do, too.
The key to recruiting is patience.
Two years ago, Illini Nation was upset over recruiting but Illinois came on strong at the end of the year and had what Zook said was his best class.
Wait until the end of the year. A lot of talented players are still uncommitted. Out of the top 300 prospects in the nation, more than half remain uncommitted.
Illinois isn't the only school whose fans are concerned. I hear from many concerned fans representing many schools. All of them wonder why their favorite school doesn't have more commitments.
Fans lack patience. But coaches are patient and will wait for the best players available, not just someone who wants to commit. Hard work and patience are keys. Fans only get excited about who they are told to get excited abut by Internet sites. And Internet sites get excited by who gets the most offers and who offers them.
Sure, it helps if a school gets off to a good start so it can impress some impressionable and uncommitted recruits. Illinois' loss to Missouri was a big bump in the road. But it wasn't a sinkhole.
A lot depends on how Illinois does on the field and they still have plenty of time to regroup and impress recruits in their recruiting bases--Illinois, St. Louis, Florida, Texas, Michigan and Ohio.