Football

The Farrell Files - Overall B1G Recruiting and Joe Barna Evaluation

The Farrell Files - Overall B1G Recruiting and Joe Barna Evaluation

Mike Farrell, IlliniGuys & Big Sports Radio National Football Recruiting Expert

February 23, 2024

(Mike Farrell also has his own website: https://mikefarrellsports.com/)

In this edition of the Farrell Files Illinois, I’ll take a quick look at where the Illini stand overall 2025 Big Ten recruiting, the PANIC factor at positions starting with QB and I’ll look at 2024 DE signee Joe Barna in four key categories.

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The Farrell Files Illinois - Huge Unofficial Visit Coming & Demetrius John Evaluation

The Farrell Files Illinois - Huge Unofficial Visit Coming & Demetrius John Evaluation

Mike Farrell, IlliniGuys & Big Sports Radio National Football Recruiting Expert

February 22, 2024

(Mike Farrell also has his own website: https://mikefarrellsports.com/)

In this edition of the Farrell Files Illinois, I’ll look at a huge unofficial visit coming soon and continue the 2024 breakdown with a look at DE Demetrius John in four key categories.

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Illini Recruiting Strategies Changing with the Landscape

Illini Recruiting Strategies Changing with the Landscape

Kedric Prince, IlliniGuys Director of Recruiting

February 21, 2024

The Fighting Illini football program is transforming, adapting to the evolving landscape of college football with the recent addition of West Coast schools to the Big Ten conference. This expansion means that the Illini will need to target higher-profile prospects to remain competitive in the star-studded world of college football recruiting.

Head Coach Bret Bielema has built a reputation for finding and developing talent, molding players into All-Big Ten performers. However, with the shift in the conference dynamics, the emphasis on recruiting top-tier prospects becomes even more critical for the Fighting Illini.

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The Farrell Files Illinois - A Possible 2 Sport Athlete?

The Farrell Files Illinois - A Possible 2 Sport Athlete?

Mike Farrell, IlliniGuys & Big Sports Radio National Football Recruiting Expert

February 19, 2024

(Mike Farrell also has his own website: https://mikefarrellsports.com/)

In this edition of the Farrell Files Illinois, I’ll look at a possible two sport athlete for the Illini and perhaps a new recruiting strategy?

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Farrell Files Illinois - New 2025 Offer & Angelo McCullom Evaluation

Farrell Files Illinois - New 2025 Offer & Angelo McCullom Evaluation

Mike Farrell, IlliniGuys & Big Sports Radio National Football Recruiting Expert

February 16, 2024

(Mike Farrell also has his own website: https://mikefarrellsports.com/)

In this edition of the Farrell Files Illinois, I’ll look at an interesting new offer in the 2025 class and break down 2024 signee DE Angelo McCullom in four key categories.

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Martin O’Donnell Resigning from Illini Radio Analyst Duties After Nine Years

Martin O’Donnell Resigning from Illini Radio Analyst Duties After Nine Years

Former Illini All-American Martin O’Donnell announces end to a […]

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‘I’m going to make you a coordinator and head coach’ - Bielema’s Promise to New Illini Assistant Coach Hires

‘I’m going to make you a coordinator and head coach’ - Bielema’s Promise to New Illini Assistant Coach Hires

New Illinois football assistant coaches Archie McDaniel and Justin Stepp have been given a promise by their new boss Bret Bielema that he intends for them to add their name to the list of people who have been promoted to coordinator or head coach roles.  

Matt Stevens, IlliniGuys Staff Writer

February 16, 2023

CHAMPAIGN — Similarly to the promise a coach makes with a prospect, a pledge has been made by the Illinois head football coach to his two newest assistant coach hires - I’ll get you better.

Throughout the short interview process of hiring wide receivers coach Justin Stepp and inside linebackers coach Archie McDaniel, Bret Bielema has vowed to these two men that he can get them to a future coordinator position or even possibly a head coach spot in their respective careers. 

“The one thing that I consistently got from everybody who I talked to was (Bielema) makes you better as an assistant coach in every aspect of coaching,” McDaniel said in his first public comments since being announced hired to Bielema’s Illini staff on Feb. 9. “That was extremely attractive to me and intrigued me more than anything. I consider myself a sponge. I’ve been doing this 18 years and constantly am looking for ways to grow professionally and personally.” 

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Jack of Diamonds: Crowder Expected to Get Opening Day Start for Illinois

Jack of Diamonds: Crowder Expected to Get Opening Day Start for Illinois

Illinois RHP Jack Crowder, one of the program’s most anticipated signees in 2021, hopes to put all his natural ability together for a final year of college baseball.  

Matt Stevens, IlliniGuys Staff Writer

February 15, 2024

CHAMPAIGN — The last person to throw a pitch last season for Illinois may likely throw its first pitch in the 2024 campaign.

Senior right-hander Jack Crowder is likely to get the baseball first as the Illini look to rebound from its first under .500 season since 2017. And in a lot of ways, Crowder getting this opening game start for a 9 a.m. CST first pitch against Akron at Wake Forest’s David F. Couch Ballpark is fitting because the 6-foot-4 pitcher is looking to turn his results around as well. 

In his last appearance at the Big Ten Tournament at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Neb., Crowder held Michigan to just one run over the final four innings while striking out five in a 55-pitch outing. He’ll be looking to find that level of success in Illinois’ first game of the 2024 season. 

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Football Recruiting Spotlight on Tanner Heckel

Football Recruiting Spotlight on Tanner Heckel

Steve Sturm, IlliniGuys Football Analyst

February 15, 2024

It was a surprise when Matthew Bailey committed to Illinois right before signing day in 2022. No one even knew that Mac Resetich was even interested in playing football in college when he signed for Illinois on signing day last year, so that news came out of nowhere too. No serious Illinois football fan should have been shocked when Illinois offered Tanner Heckel a scholarship right before signing day in 2024.

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Ked's Recruiting Roundup - Grant Beerman

Ked's Recruiting Roundup - Grant Beerman

Grant Beerman Eyes Future Amidst Multiple College Offers Including Illinois

Kedric Prince, IlliniGuys Director of Recruiting

February 14, 2024

Standing at an impressive 6-foot-4 and weighing 210 pounds, Grant Beerman has caught the attention of college football programs across the country, earning offers from prestigious schools such as Illinois, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Duke, Indiana, Michigan State, Minnesota, Purdue, Virginia, and more.

Beerman's junior year was nothing short of spectacular, earning him a well-deserved spot as a first-team All-Conference player in the Greater Miami Conference (GMC). His stat line speaks for itself, boasting 79 tackles, including 12 for loss, 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 pass breakups. 

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The Farrell Files Illinois - NIL Coaching Feud

The Farrell Files Illinois - NIL Coaching Feud

Mike Farrell, IlliniGuys & Big Sports Radio National Football Recruiting Expert

February 14, 2024

(Mike Farrell also has his own website: https://mikefarrellsports.com/)

I’m this edition of the Farrell Files Illinois, I’ll look at the battle between Bret Bielema and Mario Cristobal and take a look at 2024 OT signee Andrew Dennis in four key categories.

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Ked's Recruiting Roundup - Jason Dowell

Ked's Recruiting Roundup - Jason Dowell

Kedric Prince, IlliniGuys Director of Recruiting

February 13, 2024

Hailing from East Saint Louis, IL, Jason Dowell is making waves in the football world as a standout 6-4, 275-pound Defensive Line 2025 prospect from Althoff Catholic High School. With an impressive four-star rating, Dowell has become one of the most sought-after recruits in the state of Illinois and nation.

Illinois head coach Bret Bielema is keen on keeping Dowell within the state, recognizing his potential as a game-changer on the defensive line. Dowell has garnered interest from Auburn, Cincinnati, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas State, Kansas, Michigan State, Minnesota, Oregon, Missouri, and USC.

In a recent interview with IlliniGuys,

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The Farrell Files Illinois - LB Coach Hiring Evaluation

The Farrell Files Illinois - LB Coach Hiring Evaluation

Mike Farrell, IlliniGuys & Big Sports Radio National Football Recruiting Expert

February 12, 2024

(Mike Farrell also has his own website: https://mikefarrellsports.com/)

In this edition of the Farrell Files Illinois, I’ll look at the other big coaching hire, LBs coach Archie McDaniel.

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Prophecy Fulfilled: The Super Bowl Lands in Las Vegas

Prophecy Fulfilled: The Super Bowl Lands in Las Vegas

By Larry Smith, Co-Founder, IlliniGuys & Co-Host/Executive Producer, IlliniGuys Sports Spectacular

February 11, 2024

(Photos courtesy Larry Smith)

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - It was January, 2007 and the story I was working on was 'could pro sports play in Las Vegas?'  My producer at CNN Sports twisted my arm (wink wink) to make the three-day trip to Sin City immediately after the BCS game in suburban Phoenix.  Florida shocked favored Ohio State to reign as king of college football on that night, but the real stunner came during our interviews in Vegas. 

I sat down with then-mayor - and former mob lawyer - Oscar Goodman, an executive at MGM Grand, and the general manager of the Triple-AAA baseball affiliate that called Las Vegas home and they were very persuasive in their collective view.  I landed on that Tuesday a skeptic, but I left on Friday a convert - firmly believing Las Vegas would eventually be a major league sports city.

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Football Recruiting Spotlight - Focusing on the Walk-ons

Football Recruiting Spotlight - Focusing on the Walk-ons

Steve Sturm, IlliniGuys Football Analyst

February 9, 2024

Maybe its just me, but I get more excited about the yearly crop of PWO commits at the second signing day as they come in than I do about the first signing day. The reason is these guys are "free" and don't count against any of the scholarship limitations so you can take as many of them as you want. My excitement has intensified with these last two classes under Bielema though, because Coach Bert has made his grassroots recruiting campaign a priority and it has paid off especially well on guys like this. Last year's PWO crop was the best I'd ever seen.... until this year.

Here they are, in order of commitment:

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