Illinois is not very good at football, which means that not surprisingly, Illinois is not very good at recruiting football players. In fact, when it comes to recruiting, Illinois hardly ever beats Northwestern for recruits inside the state. In fact, the Illini didn't get a single player from inside the state in the last class that the Wildcats also wanted.
The rest of the Illini's in-state stats were also brutal:
- Northwestern hit .500 on players from Illinois
- Illinois hit .167 on players from Illinois
- Among players with offers from both schools that picked either Northwestern or Illinois, all three picked Northwestern
- Northwestern took three of the top 10 players from Illinois.
- Illinois only got one of the top 25 players from Illinois, per 247's composite, and that was No. 25.
This is a beating.
Tim Beckman knows this is bad. But don't worry, he has an excuse!
Beckman says academic standards at Illinois are higher than other B1G schools. He says it's the biggest issue in recruiting for Illini.— Dan Murphy (@DanMurphyESPN) November 11, 2014
YES! THAT'S WHY TIME BECKMAN CAN'T RECRUIT! ACADEMIC STANDARDS!
Except the team he considers his biggest rival — both on the field and in recruiting — has to deal with way tougher academic standards than he does. We know this from general common sense when comparing both schools' academic reputations (though overall, Illinois is a very good school) and even from looking at the recruits Beckman gets.
Illinois has made a point to recruit junior college players in the past few years, which is a perfectly fine way to recruit. But since many JUCO players were originally academic non-qualifiers coming out of high school, schools like Northwestern that are truly hampered by academics never take a look at them. Moreover, Beckman hardly ever beats other Big Ten schools for recruits that he has chosen to offer, meaning that their academics were apparently perfectly fine for Illinois.
Tim Beckman is absolutely right that Illinois is hard for him to recruit to. But that's because Illinois is terrible at football and because Beckman is going against better recruiters than he was in the MAC. Others, like Ron Zook, have recruited to Illinois just fine.
But it's the academics, Tim. Time to compensate with another fun marketing ploy.