Looks Like University Of Illinois - Matt Fries

Jul 22, 2021

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I had this big long rant locked and loaded for this LLUOI post. Did a whole bunch of research on it last week. At the time, in the 247 Composite rankings, four of our recruits had the exact same score: .8416. My rant was going to be on how Composite rankings like that should be real time in 2021. ESPN had given Fries a rating of 77, which makes him the highest-rated player in this class (by their rankings). And with a 247 rating of 85 and a Rivals score of 5.5, that should put him at .85xx.

I even went and researched other 85-5.5-77 recruits. Found one in the 2016 Northwestern class. And his final composite score was right around .8500. So I was going to point out that Fries composite score was going to jump soon, and he'd go from maybe the 12th-best player in the class to possibly the 5th-best player, and even though I'm arguing over a player with a composite score of .8416 vs. a player with a composite score of .8516 (or whatever), those numbers, in 2021, on the composite rankings, are sometimes the difference between "OT who probably should be going to Tulane" vs. "Big Ten offensive tackle".

But then, yesterday, all of the Composite scores updated. And Fries rating jumped to .8506. And that sneaks him just inside the top-1000 (a benchmark of sorts for football recruits) at #997 in the 2022 class. And that's significant.

In those Composite rankings, Fries is now the 6th-best player in the class. The rankings, as of today: Shawn Miller, Eian Pugh, Jared Badie, Joey Okla, Aidan Laughery, Matt Fries. Okla was the very first verbal, and then June and July commits make up the rest of the top-6. If you were wondering why the Tom Cruises were so low for the first 9-10 players in the class (besides Okla), well, I'd like to note that on the consensus rankings, all of those recruits are outside the top-1000. Recently, a switch has been flipped, and Miller, Pugh, Badie, Laughery, and Fries are all a step up rankings-wise (and offer-wise). This is good to see.

Here's the categories I see for this class so far:

Get Him To Verbal Before He Gets Several Big Ten Offers This Spring
Joey Okla
Hunter Whitenack

Sure They're Not Top-10 Players In The State But Let's Establish An In-State Foothold
Clayton Leonard
Hank Beatty
Henry Boyer
Jordan Anderson

Let's Dip Into New Jersey For A Secondary Foothold
Donovan Leary
Owen Anderson

June Camp Offers
Malachi Hood
Ashton Higgins

Now That Looks Like A Big Ten Class
Eian Pugh
Matt Fries
Jared Badie
Aidan Laughery
Shawn Miller

For Fries - and I'm still not sure if it's pronounced "frees" or "french fries" - this right around where we need to be living with offer lists these days. And please note - it's possible that Hunter Whitenack would have had a similar offer list had he not verballed on April 15th. And I know Joey Okla would have had a similar (or better) offer list had he not verballed in February. But for a kid who makes his choice at the beginning of July, this is the kind of range we're shooting for:

Arizona State
Wake Forest
West Virginia

Eventually, yes, start consistently seeing "chose Illinois over Wisconsin, Penn State, Tennessee, Oklahoma State, and Oregon." And eventually, if I can dream, "he visited Georgia, USC, Illinois, and Michigan and chose Illinois". But for now, "visited Arizona State, Indiana, and Illinois and then chose Illinois" will work.

I'm not going to include any gifs on this one for two reasons. One, OL film isn't all that exciting (apologies to The Big Guys out there). Sometimes it's Nick Allegretti exciting, but even then, it's not exactly gif-able.

But that's not the main reason I'm not including any gifs. The main reason is that I watched his film the other night and didn't create any gifs. And now I'm writing this on an airplane. And airplane wifi isn't exactly "create gif from high-quality stream" friendly.

So I'll just tell you about his film. Looks good.

He's likely a tackle, but I don't think I can say that for certain. We don't really know yet what this staff sees when it comes to "he's a tackle" and "he's a guard". There have been so many "OT" recruits who played guard that I'm at the point where it doesn't really matter. He's an offensive lineman, he moves well, his feet are solid and that would suggest tackle, but we'll find out in 2024 or so when we see the position where he ends up when he starts to crack the two-deep.

This film didn't really jump out at me like it did for Okla (although it's still solid). So to find my Tom Cruises, maybe I need to do some in-class comps. I'd place Fries right in the middle between Okla and Whitenack. Let me look those up. Okla got 3.25 Cruises, and Whitenack got 2.25 Cruises. That was easy.

Matt Fries - Two and three-quarters Tom Cruises.


Taft92 on July 22, 2021 @ 06:50 PM

Robert, thanks for categorizing the class like you did. It makes a lot of sense, especially the 'in-state foothold' guys. It was pretty clear that's what the staff was doing early, but I haven't seen anyone else come out and say so.

Hood may have been taken because he's good enough -- and friends with Pugh/Badie/Laughery, I would think. Didn't see the NJ 'secondary foothold' coming, that was probably opportunistic. It's a good sign that the most of the best players have been the latest commits, hopefully that's what we can expect more of over the next 12-18 months.

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