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Four-star OL Verdis Brown signs with Illinois

Big O-lineman brings toughness and versatility to Illini

Four-star offensive lineman Verdis Brown committed to Illinois on Friday in an announcement at Black Elementary School in Chicago.

Brown, a Chicago native who attends IMG Academy in Florida, is a kid in a mountain’s body. Listed at 6-foot-4, 294 pounds, Brown is a physical specimen in line with Lovie Smith’s philosophy: bigger, meaner, stronger.

On film, he can bulldoze.

Brown primarily played center at IMG — he also played center and defensive tackle at Mt. Carmel High in Chicago — and that’s probably his best fit at the collegiate level. His tenacity and mean streak are apparent when he's pancaking defensive lineman off the snap. He's also rather athletic for his size and can get to the second level on a regular basis.

The biggest things he needs to work on in college are his pad level. He tends to raise a bit stiff out of his stance, and he gets a bit out of control when he's not completely sure of the blocking design.

That being said, both areas are teachable ones, and Verdis Brown is the kind of clay you can mold into a masterpiece in a year or two. Like his teammate Reuben Unije, he's got all the makings of a legitimate star on this offensive line. Raw yes but the sky is the limit.

As one of the headliners of this class, Brown brings another fantastic piece to what could be the strength of this team in the foreseeable future. This is a big win for Illinois and could open some eyes in Florida, Chicago and beyond.

See for yourself.

Update: Lovie, in his presser today, eluded to Brown playing Defensive Tackle. Transfer that size to the other side of the ball. Good move, either way