State Rankings: Illinois

National Recruiting Analyst
Posted Jan 27, 2012


The Land of Lincoln is loaded with linemen, and some talented skill players that may be lighting up scoreboards in the near future. Here is our final look at the state of Illinois.

Storylines

  Land of the Linemen
Illinois has always been a place for colleges to fortify their frontlines and this year is no different. The top four players and five of the top six are linemen. They're lead by Chicago Simeon offensive lineman and Glenbard West defensive linemen Tommy Schutt, both five stars. Offensive linemen Dan Voltz, a Wisconsin commit and Iowa commits Jaleel Johnson and Faith Ekakitie on the defensive line round out the state's top five big men. Although further down the list, we also believe Stanford commit Johnny Caspers, Iowa pledge Ryan Ward, Northwestern commit Dean Lowry and Illinois verbal Vontrell Williams are also potential contributors.

  Hawkeyes Succeed in Illinois
Iowa came into Illinois and came away with five commitments this year, the aforementioned Johnson, Ekakitie and Ward along with Chicago Curie defensive back Maurice Fleming and Port Byron Riverdale offensive tackle Mitch Keppy. Fleming, a fine athlete who has played multiple positions, has the speed and athletic ability to be a difference maker. Keppy, a legacy recruit, is also a great wrestler, and just the type of player that has seemed to have success at Iowa. Northern Illinois also did well, keeping eleven prospects at home this year, including O'Fallon linebacker Mike Cotton (23).

  Diamonds in the Rough
With the depth the state has, there are always sleepers that emerge. Watch out for Chicago Kenwood defensive end Phillip Martin committed to Toledo. He's a big kid with a motor. Eastern Michigan did very well in the state this year. Big tight end Cole Gardner, defensive end Pat O'Connor, and center Jake Hurcombe are among the standouts they picked up. Bowling Green picked up a physically strong defensive end in Mikhail Dubose and I was really impressed with Rich Central receiver Shawn Mitchell this season. He is committed to Southern Illinois.

  Great Fits
I believe several of Illinois' best put themselves in position to succeed by choosing the right school. Johnny Caspers and Stanford is one, but I also believe Jordan Westerkamp will have a productive career at Nebraska and Wes Lunt will continue putting up big numbers at Oklahoma State. He fits perfectly into their wide open offense. One guy I think has really slipped under many radars is J.J. Robertson, an Illinois commit, who I think may develop into a go-to guy there.

Looking Back


2007
1. Martez Wilson - Simeon (Illinois)
Drafted in 3rd Round by New Orleans Saints and had 10 tackles and a sack as a rookie.
2. Robert Hughes - Hubbard (Notre Dame)
Rushed for over 1000 yards and 15 touchdowns in his Irish career and is currently on the Bears practice squad
3. Josh Brent - Bloomington Central Catholic (Illinois)
Started every game as a junior, had to enter the supplemental draft, but was selected by the Dallas Cowboys and has 21 career tackles in the NFL.
4. Dave Molk - Lemont (Michigan)
Consensus All-American as a senior for the Wolverines and is expected to be a later round draft choice.
5. Dale Martin - Bolingbrook (Louisville)
Transferred to Akron and then to Minnesota State.

OTHER NOTABLES: Bryan Bulaga (6)
 



2008
1. Garrett Goebel - Lombard Montini (Ohio State)
Has been in the rotation for the Buckeyes and still has one year of eligibility left.
2. Darius Fleming - Chicago St. Rita (Notre Dame)
Three year starter for the Irish and is projected as a mid-late round pick in this year's NFL Draft.
3. Steve Filer - Chicago Mt. Carmel (Notre Dame)
Never really cracked the defensive rotation, but was a special teams standout, yet his career ended with an ACL injury late in his senior year.
4. Sean Cwynar - Marian Catholic (Notre Dame)
Had a handful of starts for the Irish throughout his career and after graduating, decided not to use his final year of eligibility in 2012.
5. Graham Pocic - Lemont (Illinois)
All Big Ten selection the last two years and considered one of the top center prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft .

OTHER NOTABLES: Mikel Leshoure (8), Jason Ford (13), Caleb TerBush (36)
 


2009
1. Chris Watt - Glenbard West (Notre Dame)
Started a handful of games this year for the Irish and is the expected full time guy next year.
2. Craig Drummond - Morgan Park (Mississippi)
Left the Ole Miss program shortly after enrolling there.
3. Kraig Appleton - East St. Louis (Illinois)
Played sparingly as a true freshman, was removed from the team for violation of rules in 2010 and withdrew from school.
4. Lendel Buckner - Chicago Leo (Illinois)
Suspended from team after an arrest.
5. Patrick Ward - Providence Catholic (Northwestern)
Has started the past two seasons for the Wildcats and is currently projected as a mid-round NFL Draft Pick in 2013.

OTHER NOTABLES: Michael Schofield (6), Terry Hawthorne (7), Mike Trumpy (28)
 





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