Rose Bowl Recruiting Breakdown

Illinois' class improving since Ohio State upset

Dec. 30, 2007

By Tom Lemming

Special to CSTV.com

 



TOM LEMMING

Tom is CSTV's college football recruiting analyst, and writes for CSTV.com regularly. E-mail here!

USC (Recruiting Log)

 

We didn't see very much in the way of impact from the Class of 2007 freshmen this year because USC has such a talented team already. Joe McKnight doesn't quite have the burst that Reggie Bush has, but he was every bit as good as we thought he'd be. Everson Griffin and Chris O'Dowd had impacts, with O'Dowd starting as a true freshman.

 

The Trojans' Class of 2008 is shaping up to be a fantastic one. They're going to bring in some great wide receivers, great tight ends and it'll be even better by February's signing day. They're the one school nationally that always comes in strong at the end of the year, getting just about anyone they want.


 

 

 

They've got QB Mitch Mustain in this class, who transferred from Arkansas. They have some great wide receivers coming in with WR D.J. Shoemate (No. 44-ranked senior overall) and DB Joe Adams, an All-Stater in Arkansas. WR Brice Butler (No. 46) from Georgia is another top guy. They're bringing in some terrific all-around talent. They're probably bringing in the best offensive line talent in the country with players like Tyron Smith (No. 35), Matt Kalil (No. 50), Khaled Holmes and Matt Meyer.

 

This class has a shot of winding up anywhere from Nos. 1-5, depending on how they finish. And there's no doubt they'll finish strong.

 

Illinois (Recruiting Log)

 

Arrelious Benn and Martez Wilson have helped take Illinois from the bottom of the Big Ten to the top of the conference. Benn should be healthy for the Rose Bowl and Wilson has shown just how talented he is on defense.

 

Those two really helped Illinois this year and we've seen the Illini develop quicker than I thought they would. They're now winning those games that in years past they didn't win.

 

As for their 2008 recruiting class, they got off to a slow start but have really picked it up as of late. They've been going after other teams' players and doing a good job of securing de-commitments that will really enhance this class. Those pick-ups could make it a top 20 class and perhaps even a top 15 class.

 

The big key for them is in-state RB Jason Ford, who I think is one of the best running backs in the country. RB Deries Hodge, who signed last year but went to prep school this year because of academics, is fantastic and one of the most underrated backs. He and Ford could form quite a duo next year if Rashard Mendenhall leaves.

 

The running backs for sure will make the biggest impacts for Illinois. They've got other solid guys coming in like WR/S Supo Sanni and OLB Russell Ellington. WR Alfred Jenkins could play right away and OL Graham Pocic will be a good one.

 

It's shaping up to be a real good class and has really improved drastically since the big win against Ohio State.

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