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Four-star DT Calvin Avery signs with Illinois

Avery is a game-changer, and the highest-ranked Lovie recruit.

Twitter: @_TMBoog

Calvin Avery signed with Illinois on Wednesday in the first day of the Early Signing Period.

Avery, a four-star defensive tackle, is Lovie Smith’s biggest recruiting win to date.

He joins fellow Bishop Dunne Catholic School (Texas) teammate and offensive tackle Kievan Myers in Illinois’ 2018 recruiting class.

A native of Dallas, Avery held offers from college football powerhouses like Ohio State, USC and Florida and in-state offers from Texas and Baylor, but Avery chose to follow a growing pipeline of Illini recruits from Smith’s home state of Texas.

Avery originally was not planning on signing until February, but he changed his plans Sunday night.

Watching Avery on tape, the first thing that jumps out at you is the explosion he offers from the middle of the line. While it is easier to get into the backfield when you are 300-plus pounds as a junior in high school, Avery has the speed to chase down scrambling quarterbacks and running backs, as well as stop running plays at the line of scrimmage.

Avery often plays 3-technique, meaning he lines up to the outside of the left guard. He uses his massive frame to push into the backfield and stop plays behind the line of scrimmage, an area the Illini have established themselves as one of the top teams in the country over recent years (i.e. Jihad Ward, Dawuane Smoot, Carroll Phillips).

Continue following The Champaign Room for breaking news coverage of Illinois during the Early Signing Period.