Illinois Football Recruiting: Illini Steals a Pair of MAC Commits

Preston BrownContributor IIIJanuary 30, 2012

BJ Bello (8) shows off his nose for the ball as he strips this Crete Monee player last season
BJ Bello (8) shows off his nose for the ball as he strips this Crete Monee player last season

The Illinois Fighting Illini have managed to snag two recruits who were previously committed to MAC schools earlier this week.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Lincoln-Way West linebacker BJ Bello will not be joining the Western Michigan football program and will instead be enrolling at the University of Illinois. 

Bello said "Illinois offers me a chance to play in the Big Ten, along with getting a top-notch education." So it was obvious that the lure of a BCS conference school was what tipped the scale in his recruitment. 

The 6'2'', 205 pound linebacker is ranked as a two star recruit by and unranked in ESPN's recruiting database.

Regardless of his national rating, Illinois head coach Tim Beckman is committed to recruiting players who fit the mentality and style of football he is trying to instill in Champaign, and Bello seems to fit that mold. 

You can see his recruiting highlight tape here.

The second player to de-commit from his previous school and give a verbal agreement to Beckman was a 6'2'' linebacker from Cleveland, Ohio named Mike Svetina.

Svetina is a consensus two star recruit according to and ESPN, but a three star recruit according to

Svetina helped lead St. Ignatius High School to a state championship in 2011, tallying 111 tackles, four sacks and three interceptions. It is also worth noting that he was also named the Cleveland Plain-Dealer Defensive Player of the Year and Ohio Division-I Co-Defensive Player of the Year. 

Beckman was known to be recruiting both of these players to come play for him when he was still the coach at Toledo. 

Don't be surprised if there are more former MAC players who follow in these two young men's paths and join the Orange and Blue in the coming days. 

The Illini now have 18 verbal commitments.