Signing Day Spotlight: Kendrick Green

The offer might have come late, but Illinois was always home for 4-star Peoria (IL) defensive tackle Kendrick Green. Illini Inquirer's Jeremy Werner and Ryan Easterling take a closer look at what the Illini are getting in the in-state standout.

Ryan Easterling’s Scouting Report

Reminds me of: Dallas Cowboys DT Maliek Collins.  Green isn’t the biggest guy on the field, but from his defensive tackle position, he was darn near unstoppable during his senior season.  He consistently was able to use leverage to get penetration and cause havoc in the backfield.

Collins, despite being a bit undersized, has a track record of being difficult to block due to his explosiveness at the line off of the snap and quickness in shooting the gaps.  Collins was a deadly pass rushing DT at Nebraska and is having continued success with the Cowboys.  Like Collins, Green is a phenomenal pass-rusher, but will need to acclimate to the next level as it will be much more physical.  

Oh yeah, and he’s a wrestler.. I said this about Alex Palczewksi, too, but linemen who also wrestle just seem to catch on to technique much faster and make an impact sooner rather than later.  No bad habits, just bad intentions when on the field.

First-year impact

If he had played offensive line, Green looked a few years away. But as a defensive tackle, he could play a big role immediately. Green had a monster season penetrating opponents’ backfield for Peoria. He has a killer-quick first step and gets up the field quickly. The elite high school wrestler also has advanced handwork, similar to sophomore Kenyon Jackson. The Illini have depth at defensive tackle -- Jackson and fellow sophomore Jamal Milan as likely starters -- but one may move to defensive end (possibly Tito Odenigbo or Tymir Oliver). That’d open a spot for Green. Redshirting him would be a long-term bonus, but he may prove too good for that.  - Jeremy Werner

Werner’s narrative

Illinois didn’t play this recruitment perfectly from the start -- but it still won, showing the pull of Lovie Smith and his staff. Illinois thought Green wasn’t long enough (he would have been strictly a center) to fit what they wanted on the offensive line. The staff wanted to see him work out at defensive tackle for a camp, but the schedules didn’t work out during the summer due to Green playing in China for Team USA Football. But others hopped on board. First, Minnesota offered late in the summer. The Gophers looked like the likely destination. Then Iowa offered, and the Hawkeyes seemed close to closing. But then Illinois offered late in the fall. It appeared like it could be too late, but Green wanted the in-state offer. Then Smith and his staff went all-out for Green and showed him that, despite the timing of the offer, he was an absolute priority. Green, who helped reshape Peoria into a state title winner, was drawn to doing the same at Illinois. The Illini were able to close out for a big-time four-star prospect and likely future team captain.

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