The University of Illinois has long been considered the leader in college basketball recruiting.
But with a number of new coaches, a new coach-centric system, and the addition of a new TV deal, the Illinos have been losing recruits in droves.
And now that they’ve seen some of their top recruits leave, they’re looking to make some adjustments.
Illini head coach Matt Painter says the new recruiting process for the Illino football team will be a new look, but not necessarily a different recruiting strategy.
The team will take a “new approach” and be “a little bit more reactive,” Painter said during a media availability Thursday.
Painter added that he expects to see some of his players return to campus.
“I’m going to try to bring in some of our best players to try and get them back in the program,” Painter explained.
“We have a great group of guys, a lot of them are coming back from their last season and coming back into the program.
So, we’ll see where that goes.”
Painter added he’d like to see his team be a more active recruiting squad this year, but noted that “I’ve seen the players we have now play well on offense, and we’ve got to make sure that we’re a little bit smarter in our recruiting.”
Painter is looking to build a strong program that can compete for the Big Ten title and national championship, which is something he’s not expecting to do overnight.
He expects to be a very successful program for a long time.
“That’s something I want to do for the long term, and I’ve done that for the past four years,” Painter continued.
“And we’ll just see how things go.
But I know that I’ve got a very talented group of players that I’m trying to bring back to Illinois, and they’re going to do a great job.”
Painter was asked about a number things during his interview, including how he would like to make the Illinis football program better.
“The only thing I can say is I’m very excited to be here and coach for the next four years and be a part of it,” Painter replied.
We had a bunch of injuries. “
When I came in here, we had a lot going on.
We had a bunch of injuries.
We were down a couple of key players.
But our fans are a great bunch of people.
They’re loyal, and when you put a bunch on the field, you’re going have a very good chance of winning games.”
Painter also mentioned that he’s “going to be very proactive with recruiting this year,” which is the most important thing for the program in the short-term.
“Obviously, I’m excited to see how our recruiting program is going to develop,” Painter stated.
“It’ll be a lot more reactive than what we’ve done in the past.
And we’re going be a little more reactive with our recruiting this season, which I think will give us a better chance of competing for the national title.”
The Illini are set to take the field in the 2018 season for the first time since 2008, and it won’t be the first season that the team has taken the field.
After losing in the NCAA championship game in 2016, the team took the field for a game against Kansas State.
The Illinos last appearance on the national stage came in 2010 when they lost to Iowa in the title game.
Painter said that they’re not expecting the Illines to have a repeat of that result.
“You’ve got the same type of teams that we’ve had in the last couple of years,” he said.
“There’s going to be some differences this year and there’s going the same way.
We’re going into it with a lot on the line, but we’re not going to have to look back and say, ‘Hey, we were really good.’ “