Ryan Easterling - Scout.com

Signing Day Spotlight: James McCourt

The letter is in for Ft. Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas K James McCourt. Here's a closer look at the new Illini signee.

Commitment Date: 10/25/2015

Twitter Handle: @McCourtJ_38

Why Illinois?

"I am just very happy to be part of such a storied program with a phenomenal coaching staff that is going to mold me on and off the field. This program is about to take off and become something very special and I know I can contribute to my fullest potential."

Evaluation:

Aside from the second half of the 2015 season, the kicking position has been wildly inconsistent the last two years.  Taylor Zalewski, David Reisner, and Ryan Frain have all manned kicking duties at one time or another in that span.  

But if McCourt turns out anything like the last specialist the Illini landed from St. Thomas Aquinas, McCourt could turn out to be a valuable leg for the Illinois special teams unit.  At a powerhouse like Aquinas, it's easy to assume that McCourt only ever kicked extra points, but he was actually very accurate in both his field goal and extra point kicking.

McCourt gets quick elevation on his kicks, minimizing the risk of getting them blocked.  He has a quiet confidence in his abilities and has handled pressure situations in the past.  He will need to improve his leg strength to be able to consistently hit from distances of 40 yards plus in college, but if he can maintain his current accuracy, then he will be a vital weapon for Illinois' special teams future.

Highlights:


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