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Tales of the Tape: Larry Boyd, Alijah Tucker headline talented list of Illinois O-Line targets

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The Illini need to get bigger up front, and these prospects can help achieve that.

Photo via Student Sports

Recruiting rankings aren't the entire story for high school football players. To get a better feel for the entire picture, Len Fuller will be watching film of Fighting Illini football's recruiting targets and verbal commitments. Today he'll be providing some quick scouting reports for four of Illinois' offensive line targets.

*****

There's a combination of factors that I use for offensive line evaluations. The first aspect includes the prospect's physical tools — speed, quickness, burst, strength, power — and how they translate onto the field. Positioning is also taken into account by watching hand placement, waist bend, and activeness of the feet. Lineman often shuffle around when transitioning to the next level, so a prospect's body type (i.e. arm length) may be used to help determine the best home position. Intangibles like effort, positive/negative disposition, and physicality are also noted.

Grading Scale

9.5 - 10.0 = Five-Star
8.0 - 9.0 = Four-Star
7.0 - 7.5 = High Three-Star
6.0 - 6.5 = Middle Three-Star
5.0 - 5.5 = Low Three-Star
Under 5.0 = Two-Star

OT Gabe Houy (PA) | 6'6, 270 lbs.

Gabe Houy is listed as a three-star prospect by 247Sports' composite rankings. He's ranked as the No. 1175 overall player, and No. 118 offensive tackle in the class-of-2017. Houy doesn't have a documented offer from the Illini yet, but they're one of several schools that have expressed interest.

Offer List: Louisville, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, Toledo, Buffalo, Miami (OH)

Scouting Report

In terms of attitude, Houy's lack of on-field nastiness makes him a sort of anti-Vederian Lowe. But, like Lowe, the important thing is that he also plays very hard until the whistle. Houy is equally adept in both pass and rush blocking, but he needs to create a bigger anchor by adding another 30-40 pounds. One noticeable thing from the tape is that Houy can easily navigate his way though the first wave of defenders to reach the second level.

Houy seems to be developing a more physical style of play, and his combination of active feet and arm length help him line opponents up into his chest. While he has solid knee bend, Houy will need to improve his hand placement to be an effective blocker at the next level.

  • Great/Excellent Athleticism
  • Great/Excellent Speed
  • Very Good Quickness
  • Very Good Power
  • Very Good Strength
Final Rating: 7.0 (High Three-Star)

OG Larry Boyd (MO) | 6'5, 320 lbs.

247Sports rates Larry Boyd as a high three-star prospect. The big Missouri native is ranked as the No. 432 overall player, and No. 16 offensive guard in the class-of-2017.

Offer List: Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Purdue, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Iowa State

Scouting Report

Overall, Boyd's tape is one of the best I've seen over the past year -- he's a terrific pass and run blocker. Boyd has benefited from huge size advantages over defenders at times, but that shouldn't take away from his great measurables and skills. He's nasty, tough, aggressive, physical, and he never stops working.

Although his feet are great most of the time, Boyd occasionally crosses over instead of side-shuffling, which leaves him vulnerable against more athletic rushers. That should improve with more coaching and experience.

  • Excellent Strength
  • Excellent Power
  • Great Quickness
  • Great Burst
  • Great Speed
Final Rating: 9.0 (Four-Star)

OT Alijah Tucker (CA) | 6'4, 291 pounds

Tucker is one of Illinois' most highly sought-after targets on the recruiting trail. The Bishop O'Dowd standout is rated as a four-star prospect by both 247Sports and Scout; he's the No. 82 overall player and No. 14 offensive tackle. There's a ton of competition, but Hardy Nickerson Sr.'s California connections have gotten the Illini involved.

Offer List: Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska, Purdue, Texas A&M, Oregon, USC, California, Washington, UCLA, Arizona State, Arizona, Colorado, Oregon State, Washington State

Scouting Report

Tucker is a great prospect, but his high school's artificial playing surface may give him a small speed boost. He needs to add another 30-40 pounds and more nastiness to be truly effective at the next level. Like Huey, Tucker can reach the second level of the defense very easily.

  • Excellent Speed
  • Excellent Quickness
  • Excellent Burst
  • Great Strength
  • Great Power
Final Rating: 7.5 (High Three-Star)

OG Bryce Bailey (IN) | 6'5, 290 lbs.

Though unranked in 247Sports' composite rankings, Bryce Bailey has received plenty of power-five interest this Summer. He's rated as a three-star prospect by Scout, and he recently told Illini Inquirer that Illinois is on his short list.

Offer List: Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, Vanderbilt, Syracuse, Iowa State

Scouting Report

Bailey has pretty good technique on drop steps, and he rarely loses his man when engaged in a block. He's balanced in pass protection and run blocking, and he can reach the second level quickly if/when needed. Getting up to 310-315 pounds would help him obtain the extra strength and power needed to contribute at the next level. Overall he has really solid tools to begin with -- wouldn't be a surprise to see him on the field as a redshirt-sophomore.

  • Great Strength
  • Great Speed
  • Great Quickness
  • Great Burst
  • Great Power
Final Rating: 6.5 (Middle Three-Star)