Bret Bielema doesn’t want to see in-state recruits leave Illinois anymore. The new head coach of the Illini wants his staff to to put a priority on recruiting those players and building a program based on in-state talent.

Monday, Bielema was introduced officially as the new head coach at Illinois. While the conversation obviously covered plenty of ground, Bielema’s points on making in-state recruiting a focus was one of the major takeaways from the first presser.

One of the biggest gripes about the Lovie Smith era in Champaign was his inability to bring in-state prospects to Illinois. Bielema is hoping to fix that.

Bielema said that, whether it’s a large school or a small school, public or private, he wants all of his assistant coaches on the phone with potential players who can help Illinois on the football field. He also says that his familiarity with the state should help on the recruiting front.

Already, Bielema has been on the phone with high school football coaches in the state, which is another positive for the Illini program.