We Could Have Some Defections Before Signing Day

Signing day is less than a month away and while there probably won't be any major additions before then, there may be some key defections.

National Signing Day is on February 6 and while it's become a major television event in recent years, it's not as big of a deal around these parts because the commits making their decisions on television that day don't have Illinois hats in front of them. No, for the most part our signing day consists of just seeing which letters of intent are faxed in and hoping that there aren't any last-minute defections.

And with the recent upheaval on the coaching staff, there is certainly that risk at the moment.

Right now Rivals has Illinois' 2013 class ranked 28th overall and 4th in the Big Ten. Recruiting has been Tim Beckman's one redeemable quality in his first season here. However, Chris Beatty and Luke Butkus played a key role in that recruiting and both are gone.

They also happened to be the main recruiters of Aaron Bailey, who just might be the prize of this recruiting class. As of now there is no indication that Bailey is having second thoughts, and throughout his recruitment he's seemed pretty solid. So while there's reason to wonder, I'm not sure there's enough reason to worry.

But there are other recruits who may be changing their mind before February 6.

First there's our old friend Reggie Spearman who still seems to have a hard time understanding what the word "commitment" means.

"Every school is still in it and I have no favorites right now," the three-star linebacker recently told Rivals. "I am just going to hold out until Signing Day and pick my school.

"I am still committed to Illinois right now, but I am still considering other schools so whatever happens on Signing Day happens."

Then there's three-star safety Joshua Jones, who committed to Illinois in June but still plans on taking a couple of visits to Pitt and Michigan State before signing day.

"I'm committed to Illinois, but I just want to make sure I made the right decision," he said. "I'm pretty interested in the other three schools. Michigan State is right here in Michigan, and I like what Pitt is doing as far as rebuilding it and what Coach Chryst has going on. And N.C. State has a new caching staff so I don't know much about them but it sounds like a good place. All three schools are high on my list.

"I'll take the visits and then I think I'll probably decide the morning of Signing Day."

You'll notice two key phrases from both Spearman and Jones. Spearman said "whatever happens on signing day happens" and Jones said he'll "decide the morning of signing day." They may be Illinois commits, but they don't sound very committed at the moment.

Finally there's three-star athlete -- Illinois plans on using him at corner -- Reon Dawson. Dawson committed to the Illini in May, but that was before Michigan made him an offer in December. He'll be taking his official visit to Ann Arbor this weekend, and there have been some rumblings that should things go well, Dawson may flip.

That's at least three players that could defect before things are made official, and at positions we could certainly use some help at.

In other words, while we may not be glued to our televisions on signing day, we'll probably be keeping a close eye on the internet these next few weeks as we keep track of the decisions of high school teenagers.

Oh the joy of recruiting.

Follow The Champaign Room on Twitter at @Champaign_Room. You can follow Tom Fornelli on Twitter at @TomFornelli.

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