What a difference a year can make.
So far the University of Illinois has been winning on the football field this fall. The impressive start for the Fighting Illini is also being noticed by potential recruits from the Class of 2015 as several underclassmen have been making their way to see the new and improved Illini and have came away with a positive early impression. Needless to say that's been quite a change compared to this same time a year ago.
Providence Catholic junior wide receiver Miles Boykin (6'4, 230 pounds) has made a handful of unofficial visits to Illinois including games against Cincinnati and against Miami University over the weekend.
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"I like Illinois," Boykin said. "The coaches always go out of their way to show me love when I'm down there. Illinois is the home state school and it has a lot to offer. I liked how Illinois seems to be throwing it around more and the quarterbacks looked really good."
Downers Grove North junior tight end David Edwards (6-foot-6, 235 pounds) was one of several in-state Class of 2015 players on hand for the Illini loss to Washington at Soldier Field, and despite the 34-24 loss Edwards came away impressed.
"I'm really impressed with the Illinois offense. They run so many different looks and formations and the pace is also really fast. They moved the ball well all day against a very good team and I just walked away impressed with Illinois. The new coaches are definitely doing some good things. It's my home state school. They are trying to build something, and I want to be part of it so we will see how it goes."
Benet Academy junior quarterback Jack Beneventi (6'6, 190 pounds) took in Illinois, 50-14, win over Miami University. Beneventi also echoed Edwards thoughts on the Fighting Illini's new offense as a positive.
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"Coach (Bill) Cubit and the staff have done a great job with the offense this season," Beneventi said. "It's a great fit for a pocket passer like myself and the offense is just very productive."
Head coach Tim Beckman and staff made it perfectly clear to Jacksonville junior offensive tackle Gabe Megginson (6'5, 290 pounds) that in-state targets will also be a high priority for future Illinois recruiting efforts.
"They (Illinois) are really focusing on in-state recruits and I've been pretty impressed so far. They are landing a lot of good players including kids from my own area like Malik (Turner) and Wes (Lunt). That's been impressive. The Illinois coaches said they are going to recruit me and the rest of the in-state kids really hard."
While it's still light years away from now until the Class of 2015 signs a Letter of Intent, at least the Fighting Illini seem to be making some positive steps and inroads with the next group of top recruits.