When Tim Beckman took over as head coach at Illinois in December he already knew the recruiting landscape in the Midwest from having led Toledo's program the previous three years. That experience taught him that one of the region's most prolific prep programs is Glenville High in Cleveland, and Beckman has dipped into the Tarblooder's talent pool for a second time in the 2012 class.
Three-star Glenville cornerback V'Angelo Bentley announced Wednesday in a 10 a.m. press conference at his school that he is headed to Illinois to play for Beckman and the Illini. He chose Illinois over offers from the likes of Iowa, Pitt and Kansas.
The 5-10, 178-pound Bentley deliberated his decision all the way up until the final hours before National Signing Day. His final two consisted of Illinois and Kansas, where he visited just this past weekend.
Bentley was one of 10 prospects we highlighted last March who had yet to pick up their first BCS offer, but were expected to be BCS Conference-bound. Those offers eventually did come, with Illinois being one of the first BCS programs to extend an opportunity.
Bentley took his official visit to Illinois the weekend of Jan. 20. He already knew much of Beckman's staff from when they recruited him at Toledo, and spent much of the weekend getting a feel for Champaign.
"This was about seeing the facilities that [the coaching staff] moved up to," Bentley said after the visit. "I liked the academic setup. Your classes within your department would be in the same area, so that was kind of neat."
Another important development in Bentley's recruitment took place the weekend he visited Illinois was that his teammate, Justin Hardee, who was also on the visit committed to the Illini while in Champaign. Although Bentley did not immediately join Hardee in his pledge, he did consider it.
"It put a thought in my head…" Bentley said. "It's always good to go with someone you know."