It's hard to argue with adding national champions to the Illinois roster. Whether it's at the high school or junior college level, the Illini have more than a few champs rounding out the football team. In fact, every quarterback on the roster won a high school state title. Receivers Martize Barr and Geronimo Allison both came to Illinois from Iowa Western Community College, a top junior college program and proven national champions. The pair still carries a natural note of confidence thanks to their winning ways as they are hopeful to get back to that point, this time in Orange and Blue.
When going from a junior college to a four-year school, especially an academic school like Illinois, the adjustment is tough from a rigor standpoint. But Illinois offers so much support academically that the transition is easy. Illinois' recruiting coordinator, Alex Golesh, thinks Illinois has the best academic support in the country. Between its academic advisors and academic counselors, the support team works as hard as the coaches, doing whatever it takes to get the kids through school in an environment where they can be successful after college.
On the football side, Golesh says that if they're mid-year guys, meaning they enroll in January, it takes until the end of spring ball to figure everything out. If they're a May graduate, it generally takes them a year. By transferring early, they have six months in the strength program, whereas the May graduates have eight weeks in the strength program and then they're playing. Strength training is usually the biggest deficiency the players have coming into school. At many junior colleges, they don't have training or nutrition programs, so they didn't eat right and they didn't necessarily lift and train right because of the resources available to them.