Daily summary | ‘Critical’ evaluation period for Lunney’s 2023 QB research; Illini offers 2023 keep-in-state





There are a lot of news every day. Illini Inquirer will try to ease digestion each morning of the week with the Daily Digest.



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(Photo: Jeremy Werner, 247Sports)


Quarterback evaluation will be a priority for Illinois football during the spring judging periodwhich begins on April 15 and runs until May 31. Illinois freshman offensive coordinator Barry Lunney Jr. only had occasion to spot a few quarters in person during January contact period before February dead period and March/early April quiet period. But Illini’s offensive coordinator will expand his reach over the next few months when he can hit the road and assess the prospects in person.

  • Lunney told Illini Inquirer: “I didn’t have the opportunity, at the end of January, to really focus on that. We’ve really spent more time and energy acclimating to some of the state goals across the board. So I booked a few days in the winter and saw a few guys and a few deals come out of it. But it’s going to be really critical for me to formulate a plan, to get out. There’s no substitute for going out and watching guys in person. So hopefully I get the chance to see several quarterbacks this spring throwing and evaluating in person and through the camp circuit as well.


Background : Illinois hasn’t recruited a quarterback starting in high school in several years Nathan Scheelhaasewho played in Illinois from 2009 to 2013, and relied heavily on transfers: Wes Lunt, AJ Bush Jr., Brandon Peters, Art Sitkowski and Tommy DeVito – the last two who are vying for the starting position this season.


Rewind: Former Illinois offensive coordinator Tony Peterson was unable to assess quarterback prospects last spring due to pandemic recruiting restrictions, so he assessed based on movies and conversations with prospects and those around them. The Illini made a three-star New Jersey quarterback spring commitment Donovan Learywho Petersen couldn’t see in person until the fall and who signed in December.

  • Lunay said Evaluating quarterback prospects may not be more important than other positions, but it is “vital.” He added: “All the movies look good to me. All the highlights of Hudl, I’ve never seen a guy start his Hudl with an incompleteness or a choice. When you watch the movie, they all look good , so it’s hard to rate on film.There are things you can do to rate, but there’s just no substitute [for in-person evaluation]and it is in all positions.


So far, the Illini have offered two quarterbacks since Lunney was hired: Iowa three-star quarterback JJ Kohl and Tennessee three-star quarterback Brock Glenn.

  • Lunay said: “I’m in no rush there. We have to do it right. I think you can do this during in-person assessments, I think that certainly helps to get it right for you. So that’s going to be critical for us.


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(Photo: Steve Helwagen, 247Sports)

Illinois basketball on Tuesday extended a scholarship for the Rolling Meadows, Illinois guard for the Class of 2023 Cameron Christie. According to 247Sports Composite Rankings, the 6-foot-5 guard is the No. 104 overall prospect for the Class of 2023 and the No. 2 prospect in the state.

  • Christie is the younger brother of the former five-star prospect and current Michigan State freshman Max Christiwho declared himself for the NBA draft on Sunday, although he plans to return to college for a second season.
  • Cameron Christie also holds offers from Minnesota, DePaul, Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Ole Miss and Purdue.


Christie is the sixth prospect in the class of 2023 in the state to receive an offer from Illinijoining Kenwood’s guard Dai Dai Ames (No. 64 nationally), Iowa commitment and Bradley-Bourbonnais center Owen Freeman (#136), Lake Forest wing Asa ThomasSaint-Joseph-Ogden guard Ty Pence (No. 204) and Bolingbrook forward Donaven Young.

  • Ames, Thomas and now Christie seem to be the top priorities for this group for Illinois right now.


Background : Illinois had two state natives on scholarships last season: super senior guard Da’Monte Williams and redshirt freshman center Brandon Lieb. Class of 2022 four-star forward Ty Rodgersa Michigan native who played at Thornton, Illinois as a senior, signed with the Illini.


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(Photo: Getty)

Former Illinois kicker Chase McLaughlin re-signed with the Cleveland Browns, the franchise announced on Tuesday. After earning paychecks for eight different teams in his first two NFL seasons, the 2018 Big Ten Kicker of the Year landed a full-time entry-level job with the Browns last season and took the job. all season, making 15 of 21 field goals. (71.4%), including 4 for 4 from over 50 yards and 36 attempts on 37 after.

  • Over three years in the NFL, McLaughlin — undrafted from Illinois — made 37 of 49 field-gal attempts (75.5%) and 67 of 69 extra-point attempts (97.1%).


Camp competition? The Browns still have a kicker Chris Blewitt on the roster, so McLaughlin may still face camp competition for the job.


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(Photo: Courtesy of Illinois Athletics)

Illinois baseball player Cole Kirschsieper named Big Ten pitcher of the week, the conference announced on Tuesday. Kierschsieper tossed seven scoreless innings and struck out nine on Friday while allowing just three hits and two walks to lead Illinois to a series-opening victory over Purdue, which Illinois (13 -12, 5-1 Big Ten) swept over the weekend.

  • On the season, Kirschsieper ranks eighth in the Big Ten with a 2.49 ERA in 43.1 innings pitched. He also ranks seventh in the conference in strikeouts with 45. Kirschsieper is currently 4-1 in his first seven starts with a 45-to-13 strikeout ratio and a .200 batting average against.


Illinois sophomore Hunter Heck named Big Ten Men’s Tennis Player of the Week, the conference announced on Tuesday, setting the price with Michigan’s Patrick Maloney. This is Heck’s first Big Ten Athlete of the Week honor.

  • Last weekend, Heck went undefeated in singles action, including beating No. 33 Andrew Fenty (Michigan) 6-4, 6-4 on Friday. He clinched the Illini’s victory over Butler on Sunday night with a 6-3.5-7.6-4 win in singles #2. Heck also went 2-1 in doubles with his partner Lucas Horve to help Illinois defeat Michigan State and Butler on Sunday.
  • Heck is now 11-4 in singles action this season and ranks 92nd nationally. He and Horve are ranked No. 50 in the current ITA doubles rankings.


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Illini Softball defeated SIU-E 8-0 Tuesday at Eichelberger Field. Illini pitcher Sydney Sickels (6-6) pitched a five-inning shutout, striking out nine while allowing just two hits and two walks. Kelly Ryono led the Illini offense, going 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs, while Paige Berkmeyer scored a three-run brace as part of a six-run first inning for the Illini.

  • And after: Illinois (18-13, 3-2 Big Ten) plays at Illinois State at 5 p.m. Wednesday.


Illinois Baseball lost 10-1 at Illinois State on Wednesday. Illinois had 10 hits but blocked 12 runners on base.

  • And after: Illinois (13-13, 5-1 Big Ten) plays Iowa (14-10, 2-1 Big Ten) for a three-game series starting Friday.


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Big Ten basketball champion Illinois Basketball was honored by the Illinois House and Senate on Tuesday.. Illinois Coach Brad Underwoodassistants Chester Frazier and freshman forward Geoff Alexanders Luke Goodesports director Josh Whitman, director of sports information Derrick Burson associate sports director Brian Russell. They met with state congressmen and Governor JB Pritzker.


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Have a good Wednesday! If Ken Burns makes a documentary, I watch it…

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