our historical program prominence leads to inflated rankings of our recruits
The program had declined so much under Weber that I'd be really surprised if any rankings were being inflated just because a player had signed with Illinois. It's not like Illinois has suddenly had anyone become a McDAA just because they signed with the Illini.
My guess is that most Illini football fans would be happy to have classes as highly rated as ND's. Another question, if the classes are "over-rated" why isn't the coach recruiting the kids that are "truly" high-rated?
If a coach doesn't like the talent of his recruits, he only has to look as far as the nearest mirror to see who's fault that is. That goes for Groce too.