Rod Smith was hired to be Illinois’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in January, and he is already building his roster in February.
Like head coach Lovie Smith’s hot spots in recruiting are Texas and Florida, Rod Smith’s is the West Coast, specifically California.
California is the home of three-star running back Kenyon Sims. The San Diego native signed with Illinois on National Signing Day on Wednesday.
Originally committed to Utah, Sims had official visits to Illinois, Oregon State and almost to Rod Smith’s former school Arizona over the past week, but he chose Illinois on Sunday, announcing his commitment via a tweet.
Sims rushed for 1,396 yards and 24 touchdowns last season as a senior at Mission Bay High School in San Diego.
Illinois currently has sophomore Mike Epstein as the lead back entering 2018, despite missing over half of the season with a broken foot. The rest of the competition on the roster includes sophomore Ra’Von Bonner and juniors Reggie Corbin and Dre Brown.
Jakari Norwood signed with Illinois during the Early Signing Period in December.
Here were the thoughts on Sims from our recruiting writer Ian Gold.
A speedy back from Southern California? I’m in. Sims is a one-cut back that doesn’t have the shimmy-shake of Reggie Corbin, but he does plant and go, reaching top speed very quickly and getting everything that’s blocked as well as beating guys to the edge for some home runs.
Here is Sims’ highlight reel from his senior season.