"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
"There's a certain level of confidence and composure he brings to the court," said sophomore forward Aubrey Dawkins, who played the bulk of his minutes as a freshman while LeVert sat on the end of the bench in a sweat suit. "When you know you have a player like that on your team of that caliber, it's just like, we're in his hands and he can do a lot of things for this team. It's a comfort. It's nice."
"I just really wanted to see him in a game and I loved what I saw," Beilein said. "He was active. He's got a motor. He's got some things he's got to work on. He doesn't have the strength to (play) the way he'd like to in the Big Ten yet, but that's what we're going to work on in-between (games) without inhibiting his ability to play the next game."
Naperville (IL) North standout Colin Goebel is a versatile interior lineman who's currently holding offers from Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, and Toledo to go along with interest from several top schools in the Midwest and Southeast. The junior already stands at 6'4", 275 pounds, and if you recognize the last name, it's because his cousin, Garrett Goebel, currently starts along the defensive line for Ohio State. Colin is coming off an outstanding junior year that saw him earn first-team all-state honors, and he took the time to talk about his recruitment this afternoon:
ACE: How's your recruitment going overall? What schools have been in contact with you the most, and who are you most interested in right now?
COLIN: Right now I have three offers: Northern Illinois, Eastern Michigan, and Toledo. I've been hearing from a lot of bigger schools, though, like Miami, Florida, Ole Miss has been talking to me a lot, basically most of the Big Ten—Iowa, Illinois, Purdue, Notre Dame, Ohio State. My cousin [Garrett Goebel] is a D-tackle at Ohio State; he started this year and he's going to start next year. I have no favorites right now, but I like the Big Ten and the SEC.
ACE: I know Michigan sent an in-school visit your way. Who has been your recruiting contact at Michigan, and what have they been saying to you?
COLIN: Michigan has talked to me a lot. Coach Funk is the one talking to me—he came to see me in school, but Coach Hecklinski is my recruiting coordinator. I've been trying to call him but he hasn't answered lately. I went up there for wrestling camp in the summer and Coach Funk showed me around the facilities.
ACE: Just to recap your junior season, how did that go for you, how do you think you improved on the field this year, and just in general how would you say the year went?
COLIN: I thought it went really good. I exceeded all of my expectations, I made first-team all-state, and also all-conference and lineman of the year awards. I thought I got a lot better at pass protection and knowing where my body should be in run blocking, everything. I definitely want to improve for next year.
ACE: In terms of your position, I see you projected as an interior lineman. Do you have a preference in terms of what you'd like to play at the next level, or is that not a concern at the moment?
COLIN: I don't really care—guard or center, I know how to snap, shotgun snap, everything.
ACE: Have you been working on the center position? I know it's kind of a different animal than the rest of the offensive line.
COLIN: Yeah, I know how to snap, and shotgun snap—I work on snapping year-round, almost. I practice and I used to play center just so I'd know how to do both for college.
ACE: You mentioned your cousin Garrett at Ohio State. Have you been talking to him at all about the recruiting process, and does him being at Ohio State affect your recruitment at all?
COLIN: He gives me tons of information and tons of tips on how to talk to coaches and [he gives me] lots of help. Him being at OSU doesn't affect me that much. I obviously know more about the school, but I'm definitely keeping all my options open.
ACE: I know you're doing wrestling right now, but do you have any plans in terms of attending any junior days or camps over the offseason? Have you made any summer visit plans at all?
COLIN: Not yet. I've got to wait and see what schools I have and don't have offers from, and then I'll probably decide my summer plans. I'm going to try to start going to junior days in the middle of February and on, as soon as wrestling season ends, I think the first week or second week of February.
ACE: For people who haven't seen you play, what would you say is probably the biggest strength or strengths of your game, and what are you working on to prepare for your senior season and the next level?
COLIN: I feel my strengths are my athleticism and how I can move with my weight, and my mental toughness and being a hard-nosed player. I definitely want to improve my footwork and my pass protection skills, just my technique for college and senior year.
ACE: You're a pretty big-time wrestler as well. Do you think that helps you at all in terms of translating over to the football field?
COLIN: Oh, yeah, definitely. It definitely keeps my competitive drive going throughout, extended for three more months—I'm always competing in wrestling. It definitely carries over in practice, I never want to lose any rep, even just in practice. It definitely helps the mental toughness knowing I've got to out-tough the guy ahead of me, and it helps a lot with athleticism, too.
ACE: Do you have any idea in terms of a timeline for when you'd want to get the recruiting process wrapped up? Also, what are the ideal traits that you're looking for in a school?
COLIN: I'd like to narrow now my decision by senior year, be committed by my senior year. That's not always possible, but that's my goal. The traits I'm looking for—I definitely want to be on a winning team, just have a good tradition at the school, and definitely academics are a big part of it, too, just a good mix of both.
The dead period meant no in-person contact, but recruits can call coaches whenever they want, and coaches are actually allowed a call per week to recruits even during "dead" periods. I think the issue was more with the coaching staff spending their time preparing for the bowl game—now that the season is officially over, I'm guessing we won't be hearing any more comments about not being able to contact coaches.
EDIT: Wait, that's totally wrong. Dead period is dead period—no calls. I'm working on about three hours of sleep right now.
EDIT THE SECOND: Actually, first instinct was correct. NCAA official definition of a dead period: "Dead period is a time when the college coach may not have any in-person contact with the prospective student-athlete or the prospect’s parents at any time. The coach may write and telephone during this time."