Here are some early recruiting questions facing each of Illinois' larger college football programs.
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Can Illinois keep it's early recruiting momentum going?
Illinois and head coach Tim Beckman already have two early verbal commitments from Champaign Centennial junior three-star ranked QB Jimmy Fitzgerald (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) and DeKalb three-star ranked running back Dre Brown (5-foot-11, 185 pounds) and that's a great early recruiting start for the Fighting Illini. Both Fitzgerald and Brown are solid pieces yet landing at least one or two top tier names is the next step for the Illini. Illinois sits well for now with Providence Catholic WR Miles Boykin and both Springfield area standouts offensive linemen in Sacred Heart Griffin Quinn Oseland (6-foot-6, 307 pounds) and Jacksonville Gabe Megginson (6-foot-5, 289 pounds) have made multiple early visits to Champaign this winter. Adding one of those three names would be a huge boon for the Fighting Illini's Class of 2015.
Will Northwestern land any in-state kids in 2015?
Compared to it's outstanding 2014 in-state recruiting haul, the Wildcats so far from just an early offer standpoint have been pretty quiet. Northwestern has early offers out so far to just a handful of in-state kids including Cary-Grove junior OL Trevor Ruhland (6-foot-4, 280 pounds) and Stevenson wide receiver Cam Green (6-foot-1, 189 pounds). Take into account the limited pool of academically qualified recruits along with a weaker than last year in-state recruiting class means we can expect a smaller group of in-state target for the Wildcats.
How does NIU get it done every year in recruiting?
NIU and head coach Rod Carey has taken a very similar approach to recruiting in-state kids that the past few NIU coaching staffs used to great success. NIU has early scholarship offers out to a handful of top names, yet the Huskies also take their time when it comes to extending any additional early scholarship offers. NIU wants kids who are actively interested in the program and show that they are serious about becoming a part of the Huskies family. NIU likes recruits who will also recruit the school and NIU no longer is interested in recruiting the higher-profile kids who in the past would consider the Huskies as a "fall back" school. They also aren't afraid to take a risk on kids who might be considered under the radar types, and that formula has paid off in a big way for NIU over the past several years.