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Tales of the Tape: Ricky Smalling could be a dynamic possession receiver at Illinois

Here's our scouting report of the future Illinois receiver.

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 a quick scouting report of Illinois commit Ricky Smalling.


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

WR Ricky Smalling (IL) | 6'1, 200 lbs.

Power 5 Offer List: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, Minnesota, Missouri, Purdue, Syracuse, Virginia, Wisconsin

Class-of-2017 receiver Ricky Smalling was one of Lovie Smith's first commitments as head coach of the Fighting Illini (he announced at the same time as fellow wideout Kendall Smith). Smalling is rated as a four-star prospect by Scout, and he's the No. 333 overall player in 247Sports' composite rankings.

HUDL Highlights

Scouting Report

Smalling is a tough, physical pass-catcher that will probably make the opposition pay more than he should without big-time speed. While he only has slightly better than average quickness and burst, the Illinois native makes up for it with excellent strength, power, and body control. It's hard to ask for more than that out of a possession-type receiver.

Smalling has great position work off the line, and he's shown an ability to high-point the ball and catch it away from his body. His power after the catch will result in most of his longer receptions because, again, he's not fast enough to outrun most cornerbacks in the Big Ten.

Run blocking is an area where underclassmen receivers often struggle, but I don't envision that being the case with Smalling. He's already very good/excellent in his department, and that'll help him get early playing time.

Final Grade: 7.5 (High Three-Star)