Coming to you live from a random interstate-exit hotel. Really looking forward to tomorrow morning's continental breakfast with a toasted bagel and one of those weird circular danish things with white cheese in the middle. And knockoff Frosted Flakes. And maybe a cup of "orange" "juice".
This is a slapdash post which means one thing: I'm not sure what to write about. So I just start writing.
I saw the tweets on the Twitter today saying that Dwayne Lawson won't be in Champaign this fall. It was very doubtful after he didn't sign in February, and even more doubtful when he didn't enroll in June, but Jeremy's story today confirmed that he won't be in Champaign this fall.
My main reaction: will he then just be in Champaign in January or next summer? And if so, isn't that maybe a better situation?
Well, not "better". Better would be if he could have arrived this fall and redshirted, learning the system for a full year. But the ideal situation (to me) would have been a redshirt so that we'd have him around during the 2019 season after Chayce Crouch graduates. And that's still on the table, right?
His "clock" started during the 2015 season at Virginia Tech where he played some as a true freshman. Then he transferred to junior college last year, using up year two of his "five to play four". This year, if he still has work to do at Juco, would be his third year. So he could still transfer to Illinois in January (or in the summer) and start year 4 (of 5) in the fall of 2018 with year 5 happening in 2019. The only thing this changes is cementing his third year as a "redshirt" (no football) year. He could still arrive in January and it's not much different than him arriving now and redshirting.
Of course, he could also now go somewhere else. Some blue blood could be desperate for a quarterback and find that he's still available and still finishing up at junior college. He was a four-star in high school, so it's possible. There's nothing binding him to Illinois right now (no LOI or FAA has been signed), so he's really just a recruit at this point. A recruit who won't be playing football this fall (his two-year Juco clock has expired).
Which leads me to wonder out loud... is Lawson now the quarterback in the 2018 recruiting class? We've talked about how Coran Taylor is an ATH recruit as much as he is a QB recruit, and how we'll likely add another QB, so maybe Lawson is that other QB for the 2018 class? When we didn't sign him to an LOI in February, was this the plan all along? He'd probably need the spring, summer, and fall to finish his academic work and then he could transfer to Illinois?
I'm rambling now. Lawson was always a hail-Mary recruit, and now he's not going to be here this fall, which more or less means we're in the same holding pattern we've been in since he committed - will he get the credits necessary to enroll at Illinois? (Continue to) stay tuned.
This has been bouncing around in my head for a bit and I intended to make it a full post but here I am rambling along in a Slapdash post and I think I'll just talk about it here. For this first recruiting class, this first July, I'm really wanting a heat check from Brad Underwood and staff.
I know it's the first class, and I made all kinds of excuses for John Groce's (and Lovie Smith's) first classes (other schools have been on these kids longer, it's really tough to put together a class with a short start to the spring recruiting period, etc.), but the Mark Smith thing (stare down Coach Cal and Izzo and win) combined with the "just hire recruiters as assistants" thing (Orlando Antigua was clearly a statement that we hope to recruit nationally; Chin Coleman was clearly a statement that we intend to recruit the Chicago AAU scene), and I'm wanting a heat check this month.
If it's not coming together in the fall, fine, look at some second tier recruits. But I'd really love to see us push our limits this month. Stand toe-to-toe with everyone at Ayo Dosunmu's games. When players are breaking out at the Peach Jam and rocketing up the charts, see if we can get involved. Don't accept any verbals for the time being and shoot for the (four and five) stars.
I realize this is the opposite of my view towards football recruiting, but that's intentional. I still view us as ILLINOIS BASKETBALL - that a coach wearing orange and blue sneakers has access to all kinds of living rooms where orange and blue cleats don't really open the same doors - and I want us to recruit like it until we cannot recruit like it. Turn to the second tier of kids in the fall if things aren't going all that well. For July - HEAT CHECK.
I'm thinking we only maybe sign two in November. We have three available, but there seems to be a Mark Smith every year now, and maybe we keep one open for a Smith (or a fifth-year transfer). Maybe a fourth scholarship comes available in the spring with a transfer from someone, but with our situation as it stands today, maybe two in November, one in May is the best route.
So chase Dosunmu like he's the only guard on earth and then dangle the other ride in front of every breakout player and see if we can get some traction (and set up some visits). It's a risk in that you might lose some of your Plan B guys, but that's the fun, right? Let's recruit like we're still ILLINOIS BASKETBALL and see what happens.