Looks Like University Of Illinois - Camilo Eifler


Robert
Jul 03, 2018
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3 Comments

This is an area where I want to live. If I was a college football coach, I would hammer this kind of recruiting. There are disgruntled players on every big-time roster in college football. Find them and offer them playing time. 85 players, 22 in the lineup, 63 looking for PT somewhere.

I guess I shouldn't say "college football coach". I should say "Illinois football coach". The reasoning behind looking for transfers like this: when you're a school like Illinois, a Camilo Eifler would never consider you the first time through. He might pay attention for a bit, but then the offers come in from Oregon and Washington and Michigan and Texas A&M and he's only looking at top-20 programs. You can tell him "those schools have six other four-star linebackers - come here and you'll get gurarnteed playing time or go there and battle for a spot" all you want, but it never seems to sink in.

On the second time around, however, the playing-time realization sinks in. For Eifler, at the end of spring practice during his redshirt freshman year at Washington, he found himself third on the depth chart at Strongside Linebacker. Faced with three more seasons of looking up at other linebackers, he elected to transfer. And when transferring, Illinois - and the playing time we can offer - looks 12 times more attractive than it did two years ago.

Which is why I would live there if I was the Illinois head coach. Not for every recruit, no, but for positions where you need an influx of talent, I wouldn't go the juco route - I'd go the transfer route. Recruiting Eifler right now is no different than recruiting a juco player or a high schooler for the 2019 class. They verbal now, they play in the fall of 2019. So the sit-out year doesn't really mean much. If I was coach, in May, I'd be looking at the high school kids for the next class... and also looking at all the transfers who just announced.

And I'd ESPECIALLY recruit quarterbacks this way. I saw some statistic recently - I can't find it on a quick google - that said something like 55% of all FBS quarterbacks end up transferring. And often those are the "Alabama brought in three five star quarterbacks - one got the job and the other two transferred" variety. Often they will transfer just like Eifler is doing - two years, transfer as either a redshirt freshman or a true sophomore, sit out a year, play two. I'd much prefer to fish in those waters than the juco waters.

Anyway, I should probably talk about Eifler. Let's start with the downside: if he's third string behind two three-star sophomores at his position (at Washington), there's probably a reason. A 4-star player approaching his third season should be higher than third string. I tweeted "four-star linebacker" last night, but that's a bit deceiving. He didn't prove to be a top-200 player.

But that doesn't mean he isn't the most talented linebacker on our roster next year. Third string rising sophomore at Washington is still likely better than the first string of a team that just went 5-19 the last two seasons. The idea here is to upgrade talent, and this is an upgrade in talent. It isn't even a "one man's trash is another man's treasure" thing - he might still be a really good linebacker... buried behind two other really good linebackers.

The test will be his ability to pick up this defense. The reason the coaches loved Jake Hansen last year and were set to start him before the torn ACL at training camp was his ability to read the play. He might not be the fastest (although he's pretty fast), he might not be the biggest, but there he is, making the correct read on every play, set up in the right gap. Less-athletic linebacker in the right gap >>>>>>> more-athletic linebacker making the wrong read.

So that's what this will come down to. Which, honestly, makes the sit-out year a blessing. They have a full "redshirt" year to teach him the defense. Teach him all of the reads. And then he can (hopefully) seamlessly replace DelShawn Phillips in the lineup in 2019 (and 2020).

Tom Cruises. If this was a high school linebacker ranked #162 in the country (mid-level four-star), I'd probably go with 4.5 Cruises. Long, rangy, fast athletes like this just don't come to Champaign very often. But he gets knocked down a few pegs for not cracking the lineup at Washington. The whole "there's probably a reason he was third string" knocks him down a full Cruise. One of our best athletes on defense, the kind of rangy athlete we don't see very much... but he'll have to learn the defense.

Camilo Eifler - Three and one-half Tom Cruises.

Comments

illiniranger on July 05 @ 12:21 PM CDT

while he may not have played up to "top 200 player" at UW he's still a top 200 type athlete. if we can solve whatever it was that wasn't working at UW, this would be a great pickup. i'm hoping we get two years out of him that are similar to the two years we got out of Antonio Steele.

also, didn't see this in your post, but isn't there some kind of relationship with Hardy Nickerson Sr? Like Hardy coached against him while Hardy was a HS coach or something like that? I thought something like that was how we had the line to Eifler in the first place.

Robert on July 05 @ 01:59 PM CDT

Nickerson was the coach at Bishop O'Dowd from 2010 to 2013. Eifler's senior season at Bishop O'Dowd was in the fall of 2015 so Hardy would have had him as a player when he was a freshman and sophomore. When he was a junior, Nickerson left to join Lovie in Tampa.

Joe Edge on July 05 @ 04:46 PM CDT

U-Dub is pretty tight with top linebackers, and just signed a 5* out of Cali. So his playing time there would have been near nil. The 3* rankings for the other linebackers are probably low because they don't get the 'press' coverage that mid-west and southern guys get. They played a good Penn St. team really tough in the Fiesta Bowl and finished with a 10-2 record.... Something I'd like to see the beloved do again, before my time is finished on this rock....

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