Kentrail Moran: "My Heart Is at Illinois"

Illinois' top recruit in 2016 sticking with the Illini amid coaching uncertainty. Illini Inquirer spoke with Moran following his season opener at Hinsdale Central.

Kentrail Moran is one of the most experienced players in the state of Illinois, and is easily one of the most experienced players on his high school team.

But not all of his teammates have that same experience, and he knows that it is important for him to help his teammates as they battle through growing pains.

"I try to teach the younger guys to continue to play hard and play hard every down," Moran said. "We have to play fast because our offensive plays happen really, really fast. We need to get comfortable with the timing, but we have a lot of young guys up front, so we have some strides to make."

Moran would regularly get upwards of 30 touches per game last season, but he says his coaches are hoping to reduce the wear and tear on him somewhat this year. Regardless, he prepared for this season knowing he would have to be a consistent three-down back.

"I’m more durable and I have some better moves," Moran said of his offseason preparation. "My coaches are trying to put me in the slot more normally, but this game was kind of a test and a challenge for me."

Additionally, Moran has been working diligently to become a more complete back, especially when it comes to being more of a threat in the passing game.

"My pass-catching has improved a lot," he said. "I’ve been working on it all summer. I think I just need to work on hitting the hole fast and not be as hesitant, but be patient. I just want to help my team win and be more consistent."

But on Moran's mind all afternoon was the shocking news that Illinois head coach Tim Beckman had been dismissed as the coach of the Illini.

"Really I was surprised, and I didn’t know if was going to happen," Moran admitted, "but I just wanted to keep moving. Right now I’m still committed to the University of Illinois. I love them. My heart is at Illinois. Right now it’s all about Illinois."

Moran mentioned that he does still plan to take his official visit in either December or January.

But what has sometimes gone under-appreciated is Moran's recruiting efforts thus far. One player who Moran really has his eye on is talented 2017 East St. Louis WR Jeff Thomas, who we will see in action on Saturday.

"Jeff Thomas and I are very close," Moran said. "I’ve been playing football with Jeff for about eight years. I think he’ll have another break-out year and do great things."


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