Scouting Newest Illini WR Commits

Illini Inquirer recruiting reporter Ryan Easterling breaks down the film of new Illinois commits Kendall Smith and Ricky Smalling.

Ricky Smalling is one of the most dynamic players in the Midwest in 2017.  The 4-star receiver from Chicago (IL) Brother Rice likes to model his play after likely first-round draft pick and Illinois native Laquon Treadwell.  

Already a great route runner, Smalling is a problem in space for defenses.  He is one of the best in the area at creating separation with his routes, even when double-covered, and getting open.  Whether he's running a short route or a deep route, Smalling finds a way to make himself a viable target for his quarterback.

His body control and agility allow him to break down defenders and make plays in the open field.  He's one of the most explosive playmakers in Illinois, right up there with East St. Louis receiver Jeff Thomas.

But Smalling's potential impact isn't limited to his production on the field.  He is well-known in Illinois among his peers and will certainly be the type of commit that other players will want to join forces with.  Players like LB Micah Awodiran, Juawan Treadwell, and others will likely take notice to Smalling's commitment and more seriously consider their in-state school.

Bolingbrook WR Kendall Smith hails from one of the state's perennial powers.  At a school known best for its defensive prowess, Smith most likely will end up on that side of the ball in college, despite his current label as a receiver.

Smith has good hands and the frame to play both receiver and defensive back.  He is a quick-twitch athlete who has quality body control in space.

If he is going to play defensive back in college, he will likely need to add 15-20 pounds of lean weight, but he has the frame to do so and will likely become a more explosive athlete in the process.

Smith seems to have a natural football aptitude and understands the game well.  Bolingbrook is a well-coached program, and Smith exhibits strong fundamentals on film.


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