Seventeen months after being named Illinois football’s head coach, Lovie Smith has his biggest recruiting win to date after four-star 2018 defensive tackle Calvin Avery committed to Illinois on Friday evening.
He joins fellow Bishop Dunne Catholic School teammate and offensive tackle Kievan Myers in Illinois’ 2018 recruiting class.
Myers used Periscope to stream Avery’s announcement.
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.
The 6-foot-2, 315-pound tackle cut his list of offers down to five in a July 12 tweet.
Avery joins a position of depth for Illinois in 2018. The Illini have six defensive linemen in this year’s freshman class, but Avery may be the best tackle on the team when he arrives on campus for next season.
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).
Kievan Myers tweeted a picture from the duo’s recruiting visit to Illinois in June on Thursday evening.
Illinois has 12 commits in its 2018 recruiting class.