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3-star DE Moses Okpala commits to Illinois

Defensive end fills huge need — literally.

Ladue Horton Watkins defensive end Moses Okpala committed to Illinois on Friday evening on the eve of its tilt against Minnesota on Saturday.

The 6-foot-7, 250-pound defensive end from St. Louis fills a need in the class of 2019, as both sides of the line need players who can impact depth and give Illinois more versatility. According to 247, Okpala is a three-star recruit.

Okpala provides that in spades, as his frame is the kind that oozes potential at the next level. With the ability to potentially play immediately in 2019 as a freshman, Okpala chose the Illini over home state Missouri and several Big Ten competitors, including Minnesota and Nebraska.

He has a very similar build to Jihad Ward, the hybrid defensive lineman who helped fortify Illinois' defense during the Beckman/Cubit era and ended up as a second round pick of the Oakland Raiders.

Okpala will be a four-year player, however, and might have an even higher ceiling than Ward. That kind of talent and size doesn't come around very often.

Whether he redshirts or plays the moment he steps on to campus (a more than likely scenario given the current state of affairs at d-end), he will bring a lot to the table for Illinois moving forward.

Okpala is the 11th player committed to the Illini for 2019, and the 10th prep commit (transfer Milo Eifler being the 11th).