CHAMPAIGN — Illinois football coach Bret Bielema announced a couple of changes with his staff on Wednesday.
Patrick Embleton was promoted to executive director of personnel and recruiting, while Nathan McNeal has rejoined the Fighting Illini as the director of recruiting.
Embleton, who is in his ninth season on the recruiting staff, oversees all recruiting efforts, including high school and collegiate transfers. He manages the Illinois recruiting team, which coordinates all on-campus admissions for incoming freshmen and transfers, performs preliminary transcript evaluations for those prospective student-athletes and manages all official and unofficial visits. The recruiting department serves as football admissions coordinators and works closely with the academics staff in that pursuit, and also works with the compliance staff regarding the recruitability of prospective student-athletes.
Embleton served as Director of Recruiting at Illinois from 2015-20 following a stint as a player personnel/football operations graduate assistant from 2013-14. In that role he assisted with on-campus recruiting including scheduling visits and itineraries, scheduling meetings with academic professors and arranging campus tours. He also coordinated recruiting travel for coaches and served as the program's liaison for NFL scouts. During his time as a graduate assistant, Embleton helped the Fighting Illini bring in the No. 6 recruiting class in the Big Ten in 2014.
McNeal, who had been the director of high school relations for Illinois from 2016-18, returns to Champaign-Urbana after spending the past two seasons at the director of player personnel for the Temple Owls.
McNeal has deep ties to the state of Illinois, including playing and working on the football staff at his alma mater Northern Illinois. He spent three years on staff at NIU as a graduate assistant for football operations and video for two seasons before being promoted to director of player personnel for one season.