It seems like a while since Illinois received some good news on the recruiting trail.
Needless to say, the commitment of Valrico, Florida native Quinton McCoy was a refreshing change of pace after what can only be described as a dud of a weekend for the Illini.
The Bloomingdale High School product looks to be a solid addition along the defensive line. The coaching staff seemed to get out ahead of this recruitment, with programs like Louisville and Kentucky getting involved. Say what you want about those schools, but they've had much more recent success than Illinois, so this was a nice win for the defensive staff, especially Austin Clark.
That being said, this is somewhat of a long-term project for the defense.
Of course, fortifying the trenches is the best recipe for success in terms of roster building. Stacking solid class onto solid class is essential, and for the Illini, defensive line will be a huge need going forward (best wishes, Bobby Roundtree).
At 6-foot-2, 265 pounds, he's a bit undersized for the position. He'll need time to gain weight and strength in order to truly be effective as a zero or one technique defensive tackle. A redshirt season would be extremely beneficial.
That being said, there's a lot to like here as well. He plays with toughness and tenacity. He plays with a good pad level. He can win a lot of one-on-one matchups against the man in front of him.
He seems to be the perfect fit to take on double teams, creating an opportunity for the other linemen and linebackers to cause havoc. He's also very fast for the position, reportedly running a sub five-second 40 time. For that kind of weight, that's fast. That speed and get-off from the line of scrimmage could eventually move him to the three (a la Tommie Harris, positionally-speaking).
Watching his highlights, he reminds me of another slender Illini defensive lineman who played major minutes as his body matured: Austin Teitsma.
Many Illini won't remember Teitsma, but he played a pivotal role as a run-stuffing nose tackle for an Illinois team that won six games and made a bowl game. He was actually smaller than McCoy in high school, but bulked up to almost 300 pounds by his senior year. McCoy might even have a bigger upside, and should rack up more sacks and tackles for loss than Teitsma.
It's always a good thing to add power five talent that you can bring along slowly and have at your disposal when they're physically ready. When all is said and done, McCoy should be quite the find for this Illini coaching staff.