(WCIA) — Bret Bielema is looking to pull of his first recruiting flip as Illinois head coach.
They re-offered to class of 2022 recruit and current Rutgers commit Rashad Rochelle. The Springfield quarterback was offered by former offensive coordinator rod smith in September, but verbally committed to the scarlet knights in October. Rochelle is the No.5 commit in the state, and said it meant a lot to get an offer directly from Bielema.
“When the head coach offers you it kind of means a little bit more, because that’s a top dog, that’s the head guy. So him reaching out, showing we’re interested in you meant a lot,” says Rochelle. “I’m still 110% committed to Rutgers, until I sign my letter of intent it’s still open a little bit depending on who I want it to be open with, so I’m still going to keep all of my options open.”
The Illini also extended an offer to Rochester’s Hank Beatty, making it his second Power Five offer. The wide receiver helped the rockets to a 5A State Championship in 2019, scoring more than 30 touchdowns his sophomore year.
“I was kind of surprised, said Beatty. “I was texting the recruiting director and he said he was going to put me on the phone with the head coach. It’s awesome I think that I could end up on a team with a bunch of people that I already know, and kind of have chemistry with from in-state.”
New Illinois head coach Bret Bielema has pledged to re-connect the program to in-state recruits, and clearly isn’t wasting any time. In the Lovie Smith era, the program failed to bring in talent from the state, something Bielema wants to fix.
“I don’t care what size school, location, those schools will have the opportunity to be in contact with me and my staff,’ said Bielema. “Anybody who believes that they have a player that wants to be a part of Illinois to win a Big Ten Championship or national championship , we want them. If we are built with the DNA and a structure from the state of Illinois then we have a great chance to be successful.”