Illinois Football Recruiting 2012: Illini Hope To Finish Strong On National Signing Day

The Illinois Fighting Illini are looking to secure a strong recruiting class on Wednesday.

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2012 College Football Recruiting Rankings: Illinois' Class Rated No. 12 in Big Ten

With national signing day in the books, CSN Chicago took a stab at ranking the recruiting hauls in the Big Ten, and spoke to analyst Tom Lemming to get his thoughts on how things went for the conference's schools during this recruiting cycle.

Related: College Football Recruiting Rankings 2012: Two Big Ten Teams In Top 10, But Illinois Comes In Much Lower

Illinois checks in at No. 12 in the class rankings, which is not altogether surprising given how little time new coach Tim Beckman had to recruit to Illinois. As Lemming notes, Beckman walked into a disadvantageous situation since many of the area's prospects had already picked a college before he was hired:

"A year from now, you will know if he has the ability to recruit at the Big 10 level," Lemming said. "He didn't have enough time to recruit when he got to Illinois. Most Illinois kids were gone. And St. Louis and Indianapolis, too. He didn't have many places to turn to. His 2012 class won't be reflective on how well he will do in the future."

Illinois' class was ranked No. 69 overall by Scout.com.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago, and for more in-depth Illinois recruiting coverage, visit Hail to the Orange. Click on the link for more on National Signing Day 2012.

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College Football Recruiting Rankings 2012: Two Big Ten Teams In Top 10, But Illinois Comes In Much Lower

The Illinois Fighting Illini have secured their first recruiting class for new head coach Tim Beckman, and while the program didn't benefit from any of the 2012 National Signing Day fireworks, others around the Big Ten conference continued to get stronger. Bud Elliott of SB Nation put together a top 25 list for college football recruiting, and both the Ohio State Buckeyes (No. 4) and the Michigan Wolverines (No. 6) represented the Big Ten. He also collected rankings from 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals and Scout, all of which agreed with the top-10 status of the OSU and Michigan classes.

Nobody expected Illinois to churn out elite recruiting class after making a critical change in the program's hierarchy at the end of the season, but where do the Illini stand now in comparison to their competition within the conference? According to Scout, Illinois brought in the No. 67 class in the nation, which is less impressive than classes of the Wisconsin Badgers (No. 62), Indiana Hoosiers (No. 52), Purdue Boilermakers (No. 51), Nebraska Cornhuskers (No. 50), Penn State Nittany Lions (No. 49), Northwestern Wildcats (No. 48), Iowa Hawkeyes (No. 41), Michigan State Spartans (No. 36) and of course the top-10 classes at OSU and Michigan.

Does anyone really know the value of these players yet? Of course not, but the projections certainly say the Illini will be operating at a disadvantage in the Big Ten.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago, and for more in-depth Illinois recruiting coverage, visit Hail to the Orange. Click on the link for more on National Signing Day 2012.

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Illinois Football Recruiting: Illini Land 19 Commitments On National Signing Day

The Illinois Fighting Illini have announced 20 new commitments from recruits on National Signing Day, with 19 new signees and one committed walk-on. This is the first recruiting class for Illinois under head coach Tim Beckman, who was hired away from Toledo after the Illini fired previous coach Ron Zook.

Below are the 19 signees for Illinois:

RB Dami Ayoola, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (St. Thomas Aquinas)

OL Robbie Bain, Bolingbroo, Ill. (Bolingbrook)

DB Taylor Barton, Orlando, Fla. (Lake Highland Prep)

DB B.J. Bello, New Lenox, Ill. (Lincoln-Way West)

DB V'Angelo Bentley, Cleveland, Ohio (Glenville)

RB Devin Church, Southfield, Mich. (Brother Rice)

PK Ryan Frain, Indianapolis, Ind. (Scecina)

DB Justin Hardee, Cleveland, Ohio (Glenville)

DB Jevaris Little, St. Petersburg, Fla. (Lakewood)

LB Mason Monheim, Orrville, Ohio (Orrville)

LB T.J. Neal, McKeeseport, Pa. (McKeeseport)

DL Teko Powell, Miami, Fla. (Norland)

WR J.J. Robertson, Mokena, Ill. (Lincoln-Way East)

OL Joe Spencer, Mason, Ohio (Mason)

LB Mike Svetina, Brunswick, Ohio (St. Ignatius)

RB LaKeith Walls, Cleveland, Ohio (Rhodes)

DL Vontrell Williams, Chicago, Ill. (Mt. Carmel)

Illinois also got a commitment from walk-on safety Michael Martin, who played high school in Champaign, the same city that's home to the university.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago, and for more in-depth Illinois recruiting coverage, visit Hail to the Orange. Click on the link for more on National Signing Day 2012.

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Illinois Football Recruiting 2012: Illini Hope To Finish Strong On National Signing Day

The challenge for new head coach Tim Beckman, as it is for most in his situation, is to keep as much of the current class intact as possible while also making up ground on the recruiting trail and building on the class where it is still lacking. Beckman and his staff have earned several commitments since taking over the coaching duties, and they may not be finished just yet.

Related: Illinois Football Recruiting: RB Devin Church Switches Commitment From Northern Illinois To Illini

One prospect they would like to add to their 2012 class on national signing day is offensive lineman Johnny Caspers, who was a Stanford commitment at one time. Caspers, a three-star prospect according to Rivals.com, visited Illinois recently and earned a scholarship offer.

As for the prospects currently on board, they are listed below:

Name Pos Location Ht Wt
Star Rating
Rivals Rating Committed
Committed - Not Yet Signed
BJ Bello DB New Lenox, IL 6'2" 205
2 stars 5.4 1/29/12
Mike Svetina LB Brunswick, OH 6'2" 220
3 stars 5.5 1/29/12
Devin Church RB Southfield, MI 5'8" 175
3 stars 5.6 1/22/12
Justin Hardee ATH Cleveland, OH 6'1" 185
2 stars 5.4 1/22/12
Jevaris Little DB St. Petersburg, FL 6'1" 180
3 stars 5.5 1/22/12
T.J. Neal LB McKeesport, PA 6'1" 225
3 stars 5.7 1/15/12
Teko Powell DT Miami, FL 6'2" 285
3 stars 5.6 1/5/12
Ryan Frain K Indianapolis, IN 6'1" 210
2 stars 5.3 12/21/11
Mason Monheim LB Orrville, OH 6'1" 215
3 stars 5.5 12/19/11
Dami Ayoola RB Ft. Lauderdale, FL 5'10" 201
3 stars 5.7 11/24/11
Robbie Bain OL Bolingbrook, IL 6'3" 300
3 stars 5.6 11/16/11
Vontrell Williams DT Chicago, IL 6'2" 275
3 stars 5.7 9/16/11
Taylor Barton DB Orlando, FL 6'1" 200
3 stars 5.5 8/7/11
Joey Warburg OL Louisville, KY 6'5" 255
3 stars 5.5 7/24/11
Joseph Spencer OL Mason, OH 6'4" 270
3 stars 5.7 7/14/11
TaJarvis Fuller DB Fort Myers, FL 6'1" 185
3 stars 5.6 6/15/11
Jason Robertson WR Mokena, IL 6'1" 185
2 stars 5.4 5/12/11
Elliot Faerber WR Shawnee Mission, KS 6'5" 208
3 stars 5.5 3/16/11

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago, and for more in-depth Illinois recruiting coverage, visit Hail to the Orange. Click on the link for more on National Signing Day 2012.

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2012 National Signing Day Announcement Times Schedule

The big day for college football programs around the country is Wednesday, Feb. 1: national signing day. Many of the nation's top undeclared prospects will not only make a decision on Wednesday, but do so on television. ESPNU will air many of those commitments; here is their signing day TV schedule (all times eastern):

DE Mario Edwards (No. 1 ranked prospect in ESPNU 150): 9:05 a.m.
OLB Josh Harvey-Clemons (No. 17): 9:15 a.m.
CB Tracy Howard (No. 18): 9:35 a.m.
DT Eddie Goldman (No. 10): 10:05 a.m.
WR Dorial Green-Beckham (No. 3): 10:15 a.m.
OLB Kwon Alexander (No. 29): 11:05 a.m.
S Trae Elston (No. 10 safety): 11:05 a.m.
WR Nelson Agholor (No. 47): 12:05 p.m.
WR Thomas Johnson (No. 33): 12:20 p.m.
OT Andrus Peat (No. 9): 1:35 p.m.
OT Avery Young (No. 61): 2 p.m.
CB Ronald Darby (No. 38) 2:30 p.m.

Notre Dame is one of the finalists for Darby, who was once committed to the Irish. Notre Dame fans also will want to keep an eye on Ken Ekanem's announcement, which will air at this link at about 9:00 a.m. ET. Ekanem, a four-star prospect as rated by Rivals.com, is choosing between the Irish and Virginia Tech.

For recruiting updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more in-depth coverage of Notre Dame football recruiting, visit One Foot Down. And for more comprehensive national signing day coverage, be sure to check out SB Nation's recruiting hub.

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Illinois Football Recruiting: RB Devin Church Switches Commitment From Northern Illinois To Illini

Class of 2012 running back prospect Devin Church reconsidered his commitment to Northern Illinois and decided to switch his allegiance to Illinois, citing the desire to play "at a bigger stage."

"When I committed to Northern Illinois, I fell in love with it," Church said on Monday. "Then, I started thinking I could play at a bigger stage. I always knew I could. I’ll get that opportunity now, and it’s on me.

Church is rated a three-star prospect by Rivals.com and a two-star prospect by ESPN. He held offers from Boston College, Toledo and Bowling Green in addition to Illinois and NIU.

Church ran for 1,923 yards and 23 touchdowns in high school last season, helping his team to a state championship.

For more on the FIghting Illini, head over to Hail to the Orange. For updates on recruiting, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more on the biggest recruiting stories of the year, keep track of SB Nation's college football recruiting section.

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