Papa Del's is the place to go in Champaign if you want a taste of Chicago-style deep dish pizza. Establishing a Chicago connection will be just as important for this staff.
Since they were hired after signing day, not only did they miss out on recruiting the back half of the 2016 class, they also missed out on maybe a third of the 2017 class. Unfortunately, with the aforementioned senior-laden team, 2017 is going to have to be a large class for the Illini. The staff has secured a commitment from the 6th rated player in Illinois in WR Ricky Smalling, but they still have 24 scholarships left to fill. Can this staff ever really lock down Illinois and keep Michigan State from poaching our offensive lineman? What will it take for news of a 5-star in-state prospect committing to Illinois to not shock you?
MNW: If I want pizza hotdish, I will stay in Chicago, thank you. No need to torture myself and go to Champaign.
AlNamiasIV: Ron Zook proved you could recruit to Illinois. He also proved all the talent in the world won't bring championships. If Lovie can get this group to eight wins by 2018 then in-state prospects will take notice and, at that point, I wouldn't be surprised to see high-level Illinois talent spurn Notre Dame, Ohio State, MSU, Michigan, et al, for the Illini.
Stew: I don't think IL will ever be able to really lock down the state. Every talent rich state has a similar issue, even with powerhouse teams in-state teams. To top it all off Champaign is a horrible town, not exactly the easiest to recruit to. I do think Smith will do relatively well, and be able to start to get a few of the upper level recruits to stick around.
Aaron Yorke: Coach Lovie is up to the task if he's willing to make a long-term commitment to the school and not bolt for the NFL after his first eight-win season. Michigan and Michigan State can always go to Ohio or Indiana or in their own backyards to find offensive lineman. As mediocre as Illinois has been in the past, it's still a couple of wins over Northwestern from becoming the top program in its state, and that means it won't be too shocking for the Illini to land a top player in the future. Coach Lovie is a huge deal and he has the potential to completely turn the program around if he sticks with it.
andrewkraszewski: All 3 Allen brothers, Chase Gianacakos, Josh King, Mike Panasiuk, Raequan Williams, and now Kevin Jarvis send their warmest regards. Recruiting is funny though. Sometimes schools just come out of nowhere and start killing it on the trail and there's nothing unusual about that at all, right Ole Miss? We all roundly mocked Illinois' efforts to label the state as theirs, but Maryland and Rootjars have had much more success in locking up local talent with new coaching staffs. Why not Illinois, other than the possibility this will be construed as a nice thing?
Thumpasaurus: Andrew's got the right idea. WHY NOT ILLINOIS?
So, 2017 recruits, how we doin'?