Illinois Fighting Illini Looking To Return To Winning Form

Afrikka BambataaContributor IJanuary 11, 2010

CINCINNATI - NOVEMBER 27:  Juice Williams #7 of the Illinois Fighting Illini throws a pass during the game against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Nippert Stadium on November 27, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images


The last time the Illinois Fighting Illini had a winning season was 2007. That year they had a two-dimensional attack had 15 receiving touchdowns and 21 rushing touchdowns. But this year they had three running backs over 500 yards and quarterback that can run, throw, and completes 57% of his passes. So what went wrong for the Illini this season, inconsistency?

In two of the three wins, the Illini followed it up with a losing streak.

The fingers can be pointed at the whole team, but the most important side of the ball couldn’t stop any team this season. The least points they allowed throughout the season was 13, and the most was 53. In 6 of 12 they allowed 30 or more, and in 10 of 12 games they allowed 20 or more. Overall they allowed teams to score 30.2 a Big Ten worst.

So what does Ron Zook do to correct this?

He goes out and recruits some stellar defensive players.

Corey Cooper, Jonathan Brown, Mark Wilson, Trulon Henry, and Arness Ikner edges out the defensive recruits for Illinois.

Illinois pass offense was also a huge reason why they ended with a losing record. Their passing game ranked 10th in the Big Ten putting up 193.1 yards per game. So they bring in a 5-11 speed receiver Ryan Lankford, to help out in the passing game.

The offensive line allowed 29 sacks this season, so Ron goes out and recruits 4 offensive linemen.

Illinois can be a very good team, with the recent recruiting class they’ve put themselves in a position to return to the win column. Being the most penalized team in the Big Ten they need to negate mental mistakes and create turnovers instead of making them.

There are many other recruits still considering Illinois. So therefore put in this situation the Illini should land at least 4 more recruits.

The biggest recruit that is considering Illinois is Corey Lemonier. A 6 foot 4 221 pound defensive end that can get after the quarterback, which was lacked as Illinois only had 19 sacks on the season.

The biggest recruit that has made some kind of commitment is Corey Cooper. The 6 foot 1 193 pound safety can get after it in the secondary. He can return punts/kicks and is an all-around athlete.