Kendall Moore, a 6'-5" 265 pound offensive tackle out of Chicago Simeon High School became the most recent offensive lineman to receive a verbal offer from Illinois. Simeon Head Coach Dante Culbreath informed Moore of the good news Wednesday afternoon."
"I knew it was coming soon, but I didn't know it would be this early because I hadn't talked to them as much. When my coach called me over and told me, I was super excited."
Moore recently checked out Illinois for the basketball game against Wisconsin, along with teammates Reggie Spearman, Elcee Burke III, Aaron Banks and Jabari Winston. He got a feel for the school and the support he could expect at Illinois.
"I enjoyed the overall experience of college. They said they were the most diverse in the Big Ten. All the players had fan and alumni support. The involvement with the school was great."
The relationships the players and coaches already have reminded Moore of the relationship he has with his teammates and coaches at Simeon.
"They were a family and always had each others' backs. They hang out a lot together like we do at Simeon and seem like they've known each other for a while."
Illini Steve Clinkscale is the primary recruiting coach for Moore. In just a short time of knowing Coach Clinkscale, Moore has an appreciation for him and what he stands for.
"I think coach Clinkscale is cool. He puts family first and has great morals. When we were down there, he showed us a great time. We had a lot of fun."
Another Illinois coach Moore got to know was offensive line coach Luke Butkus.
"Coach Butkus is exciting. He's always on the edge and thinking on his feet like an o-lineman should be."
Moore had the privilege of playing alongside one of the top offensive tackles in the 2012 class in Auburn signee Jordan Diamond. Diamond, a left tackle, mentored Moore, the right tackle, throughout his time at Simeon.
"They want me at right tackle. Jordan played left tackle. Jordan basically taught me everything beyond what they coaches taught me. We would stay after practice, and he would teach me more techniques and be a leader. He's like a big brother to me."
Diamond has prepared Moore well so far. Athletic and rangy, Moore is able to get past the line of scrimmage and engage defenders downfield.
"My strengths are my quickness and quick reaction. I fly around and get to the second level and block linebackers, safeties, corners, whatever."
At 265 pounds, Moore has decent size, but seeing Diamond, he knows he needs to add more weight and become more physical.
"I probably need more size. I feel like I can get bigger and improve on my run blocking."
Moore was originally planning on visiting Illinois later in the month, but the offer pushed up his timetable. In addition to Illinois, Moore also has another visit on tap.
"They want me to come down Sunday. So I'm going to do that now. I was originally going to go Illinois on the 26th, and I might still do that. But I'll be visiting Toledo on the 25th now."
Two years in a row now, Simeon is forced to reload at a number of key positions. Moore will now assume a leadership role, not only on the offensive line, but with the rest of his team.
"We're losing a few big guys, but we have a lot of young talent on the team that hasn't gotten a chance to perform at the varsity level yet. So I don't want to get too ahead of myself making a prediction. We have a good pass rush and a lot of playmakers in the secondary."