Going for Illinois
B1G-time opportunity. Deon Pate has been committed to Appalachian State since July, but he outperformed the Sun Belt Conference as a senior, earning offers from Rutgers and Illinois after the season. It's just been a matter of when rather than if Pate would flip from the Mountaineers. With Illinois missing on some of its other top priority targets, Pate became an even larger priority. Following an official visit last weekend to Illinois, Pate decommitted. That's a blatant sign that Illinois is in great shape.
Going against Illinois
Nothing really -- unless Illinois gets commitment calls in the next few minutes from Bobby Roundtree, Jalen Harris and Zion DeBose.
Confidence in a commitment
Confidence in a commitment (on a scale of 1-10): Ten (10) - Pate is all orange and blue.
Pate would add much-needed depth to the Illini defensive line, as well as versatility because he likely will eventually grow into a defensive tackle. He will start out at strongside defensive end. He already has the size to play the position, though he’ll need to continue to add strength. While Pate probably doesn’t have as high of a ceiling as Olalere Oladipo (who is longer and more athletic), Pate may be more ready to play immediately because he has more refined technique and handwork. Given the lack of proven options at defensive end, Pate will have the opportunity to compete for immediate playing time. He has some similarities to rising junior defensive tackle Tito Odenigbo.