As college football bowl season continues to progress towards the College Football Playoff title game, the Illinois Fighting Illini have been rather busy recruiting. A string of relatively high-profile commitments have given the program some needed momentum ahead of signing day, and more good news is surely on tap for this month.
One newer name to keep an eye on is former Appalachian State commit Zion DeBose (NC). The three-star defensive end announced a string of official visits on Monday, including a trip to Champaign on January 13 to check out the Orange and Blue.
My final OVs for the month of January...— M.E.E.T ! (@Zion_LifeGoesOn) January 3, 2017
DeBose is the nation’s No. 829 overall prospect on 247Sports’ database, and he holds additional Power 5 scholarship offers from Virginia Tech, Missouri, Pittsburgh, Duke, Kansas, N.C. State, North Carolina, Purdue, and Rutgers.
DeBose took a previous official visit to Missouri on December 9; trips to Pittsburgh (January 20) and Virginia Tech (January 28) are on the horizon as well.
According to Scout, DeBose is an “extremely athletic prospect [that’s] explosive off the edge.” Their analysis of the 6-foot-3, 225-pound North Rowan product also hints at noticeable speed and motor.
DeBose is an extremely athletic prospect, who is explosive off the edge. He gets off the ball quickly and has very active hands. DeBose also has great speed and moves well laterally. He plays fast, but under control, and takes good angles when pursuing the football. DeBose has a high motor and plays very hard. He is thin, so he will need to add weight and get stronger. However, he has a lot of ability and a chance to develop into a very good player at the collegiate level.
The defensive line was a massive area of weakness that the Illini staff needed to address with this recruiting class, and so far, they’ve hit a home run. Four-star DT Kendrick Green (IL), three-star DE Owen Carney (FL), and three-star DE Olalere Oladipo (IL) all seem poised to compete for immediate playing time next Fall, and there’s still room for another 2-3 players. Illinois is facing some stiff competition for DeBose, but getting him on campus indicates there’s at least a small chance of him joining the previously mentioned group — let’s hope Lovie Smith makes a good impression.