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ISU's playoff run has pushed back its recruiting schedule

(MCT) — NORMAL —It’s a problem, but a problem Illinois State football coach Brock Spack hopes to have every year.

Advancing to the quarterfinals of the Championship Subdivision playoffs extended the Redbird season to Dec. 8 and pushed back the dates of official recruiting visits.

“By the time we had a weekend free, we were in finals or out of school,” Spack said. “That’s not a very good environment for those guys to visit, and we don’t want to stretch our players when they’re in finals.”

Current players serve as hosts when recruits visit campus.

“Players are your biggest selling point,” said Spack. “It’s hard when they’re trying to study for finals to ask them to have a guest for the weekend.”

And with ISU’s spring semester not beginning until Monday, the Redbirds won’t have several prospective recruits on campus until the weekend of Jan. 18-19.

ISU has many high school players visit for home games during the season but those are generally classified as unofficial visits.

The ongoing construction of a new east side to Hancock Stadium will be a quick topic of conversation when recruits arrive.

“That has been hit pretty hard since we’ve been here,” said Spack. “But seeing steel going up and brick pillars being made, it’s not a dream now it’s reality. It sends a statement that ISU is making a commitment to football.”

Spack expects junior college tailback Collin Keoshian to be ISU’s lone mid-year transfer.

The ISU coach said there is a “very slim” chance of another transfer beginning classes on Monday.

“We don’t have as huge of a need (as last year),” Spack said. “We would take a great player if we could find one, but I don’t see it right now.”

ISU is looking to add defensive linemen, a tall receiver and a quarterback with the remaining scholarships the Redbirds have available.

“We’re still looking at quarterbacks. We’ve identified a couple guys we really like,” said Spack. “That would be a position where a transfer would be a possibility, but I don’t see it happening. We’ll probably go the high school route.”

NCAA rules prohibit Spack from commenting on recruits until they sign a national letter of intent on Feb. 6.

Those known to have committed to sign with the Redbirds are tight end Dalton Keene of Jacksonville, linebacker D.J. Romero of Chicago Mount Carmel, running back Jamal Towns of Thornton, wide receiver Jon-Marc Anderson of Newburgh, Ind., defensive lineman Dean Helt of Waunakee, Wis., and defensive backs Dennis Oxendine of Lexington, Ky., and Dion Starnes of Air Force Prep.

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