Tim Beckman and the Football Factory

llinois and their football recruiting team continue to add members to the Class of 2013. The most recent acquisition for the Illini is Simeon outside linebacker Reggie Spearman.

Spearman has an impressive combination of speed and strength which helps him wrap up ball carriers and explode on the ball. He is a durable guy who sheds blockers quickly and hunts the ball carrier. Spearman lacks experience as a defender dropping back in coverage, but his versatility and athleticism will help him learn quickly.

Spearman is 6’1″, 218 pounds, and is ranked the 48th best outside linebacker in the Class of 2013.

The Illini have been collecting recruit after recruit in the past couple of months, but are still behind the likes of Michigan, who currently have the best ranked class in the country and over 20 comitted recruits.

In continued efforts to claim Chicago as their own, the Illini will be playing a home game at Soldier Field on Sept. 14, 2013 vs. The University of Washington.

“Soldier Field is in an incredible location that will allow our fans in the Chicagoland area and from around the state an opportunity to watch the Fighting Illini take on an outstanding Pac-12 oppenent in Washington,” Illinois AD Mike Thomas said in a statement.

This will be Illinois’ second stint at Soldier Field. The last time Illinois played at Soldier Field they lost a thrilling 10-9 game to Washington State back in 1994. Illinois was also in the Windy City in 2010 when they thrashed Northwestern 48-27 at the Cubs’ Wrigley Field. The Illini’s last Rose Bowl victory was in 1964 when they topped the Huskies 17-7.

Currently, Northwestern and Illinois are in a fight to claim Chicago as their own city. Northwestern recently created billboards around the Chicagoland area with the slogan “Chicago’s Big Ten team.” Now, in response, Mike Thomas (Illinois AD) has launched a ‘king of Chicago’ campaign where the Illini boast the slogan, “ILLINOIS. OUR STATE. OUR TEAM.”

The fight to win fans off the field involves big billboards and slogans while the fight on the field is determined by big athletes. We know that the Illini just added to their thin offensive line with a transfer from Penn State. He (Ryan Nowicki from Penn State) was in uniform on Monday when the Illini began practice.

Also in attendance was 6’4″, 295-pound Ryan Klachko who attended Sacred Heart-Griffin High School and will be transferring from Nebraska after one redshirt season. Klachko, who is reported to be leaning towards the Illini, was a Chicago Tribune all-stater and was ranked among the top 15 guards in the country by Rivals.com

If Klachko chooses Illinois he would have to sit out this season, but would be able to start next season with three years of eligibility.

Since being brought into the Illini family just a short time ago, Beckman and Thomas have begun what seems to be an aggressive revolution. They are going after big name recruits and seem to have landed Illinois at the top of some big-name transfer lists. Illini fans should be very optimistic about Beckman and the upcoming season. Beckman is like the little girl from Charlie and the Chocolate factory. He gets what he wants…even if it’s someone else’s.

Follow on Twitter @Midwaymadness