Athletic, Quick Florida Defensive End Seth Coleman announces commitment to Illini Football

Lovie Smith and the Illinois Fighting Illini Football staff received another commitment today out of what is quickly becoming a flowing pipeline for the coaching staff from Florida. The Illini staff gained the commitment of yet another prospect out of the Sunshine State in defensive end Seth Coleman, from Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy in Melbourne, Florida,.

Coleman announced his commitment to Illinois on Sunday the 29th, continuing recent recruiting success for Lovie and his assistants. Coleman confirmed his commitment to Illinois during his weekend visit to Champaign.

Coleman is definitely a “style-of-play” recruit for Lovie Smith and company. This group of Illini coaches likes to use quick, athletic defensive ends to get into the backfield and disrupt opposing offenses. Seth Coleman certainly fits this bill. Coming in around 6’5”, 200 lbs., the defensive end  utilizes a wide range of skills and natural physical ability to find holes in opposing offensive lines.

With a good sense of timing, and a great ability to read the snap count and get ahead of the offensive line, Coleman’s highlights are full of him breaking through gaps in the line, and using his great physical ability and quick burst of speed off the line to get to opposing quarterbacks. He will likely be utilized as a 5-technique rusher on the edge, used to get straight to opposing quarterbacks.

Coleman also has a great frame for Lovie’s ideal physique for the position, with long arms and good strength to get through tight gaps, into offensive backfields.

Coleman also is a highly productive player for his school’s basketball team, which can easily be guessed as he has great reaction times, and his highlights show multiple pass break ups, wherein he uses his long arms and quick reflexes to swat or bat down passes.

Seth Coleman has thus far been a bit under-recruited when it comes to power-five schools, and Illinois became the first power-five team to offer him in June, via a phone call from Head Coach Lovie Smith himself. Coleman also currently holds offers from fifteen schools, including offers from South Florida, Florida Atlantic, Navy, Ohio, and other Division-I Programs.

He also has had reported interest from schools like Iowa State, Tennessee, and Michigan.

Coleman is the first defensive end, and the first player from Florida to commit to Illinois in the 2019 class, and with the staff hitting the state hard, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see more follow in the coming months.

The Illini continue their recent recruiting successes, as Coleman joins a class of top-tier talents Isaiah Williams, Marquez Beason, and several others.

 

Nate Williamson is a journalism student at the University of Illinois, working for illiniscoops.com, as well as Last Word on NFL. He is also the Co-Founder of TheSportsGuysSite.com…

Stay tuned into this site for more articles from Nate and the rest of our Illini staff, and make sure to check back soon for more interviews, breakdowns, and discussion from the guys!

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Illini steadily tracking rising 2019 shooting guard Donovan Williams

There have been many players this summer who have played well and gotten attention, along with scholarship offers. None more than 4-star top 100 6’5 180-lb Donovan Williams from Houston Hoops. He was named to the All-Breakthrough team at the Peach Jam in Atlanta two weeks ago and continued to impress last weekend.

Donovan can do a good bit of everything, he averaged 13 points and 5 rebounds at the Peach Jam. His long arms make it tough to block his shot in traffic and he causes havoc defensively in passing lanes. The Illini staff have taken notice, particularly assistant Jamall Walker. He fell in love with Donovan’s game and Brad Underwood offered after they watched him play together. Jamall has kept tabs and watched Donovan play each weekend since the offer. I caught up with Donovan after Illinois offered along with Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Northwestern.

In his words with Donovan Williams

I wanted to know how long he has been in contact with the Illini staff.

He told me “I’ve been talking to coach Walker since June and we’ve established a nice relationship. We talk 3 or 4 times a week and he believes my length and athleticism can translate to the college ranks and really allow me to be effective.”

In regards to his interest in Illinois

Donovan said ” I do have interest in Illinois. Their playing style is very interesting the way they use their players and with the new staff, I just plan to get more acquainted and learn about them more.”

I asked who has stuck out to him leading up to his recent offers.

Williams said “Right now the schools that are sticking out for me are Miami,Arizona State,Texas, and SMU”

My last question for Donovan was targeting his strength as a player.

He told me “My strengths are being a multi dimensional player, that can go inside and out. I have a high IQ and I know how to make smart plays. I think I can improve on my offensive skill set just as any other player and being even more effective on defense than i already am.”

Donovan mentioned he plans to decide on Official Visits in mid August and plans on signing in November

Swami’s Take

The Illini staff isn’t putting all it’s egg in one basket. They aren’t afraid to offer a kid and go after them. Media and fans can talk about priorities but Donovan Williams intrigues the staff. With so many talented wings in 2019, Williams has stood out this summer.

Regardless how it plays out this fall, Illinois is putting in the time and effort on players they want. Jamall Walker has done a nice job in this recruitment and has given Illinois a chance to compete with the Texas schools for this Native Texan. Will it be enough to get a visit? We will find out over the next month

Illini Scoops Freshman Spotlight Series: Jordyn Slaughter

Illiniscoops’ Nate Williamson (@NateJWSports) recently got to talk to Illini Freshmen and Offensive Lineman Jordyn Slaughter (@Slaughter66_). He sat down to talk about what it has been like getting accustomed to living life as an Illinois football player. He also asked him to introduce himself to fans on a personal basis, and about the progress he has made during his time with the Illini so far. Check out the full interview below.

What is your favorite NFL team?

  • New England Patriots

If you were going to play any other sport in college of your choosing, what would it be?

  • Basketball

Now, for the real questions.

– Want to share a little bit about where you’re from, where you went to high school, and how long you’ve been playing football?

  • Well i’m from East St.Louis, IL. For high school, I attended Althoff Catholic in Belleville, IL, and I’ve been playing football for almost 8 years now. –

– What would you say are the strongest elements of your game on the offensive line, and what do you bring to the team?

  • I think the strongest elements of my game are my pass blocking skills, and also my intelligence on the field to react to situations.. The biggest thing i bring to the team would be my leadership skills, even though i’m only a freshman.

What first turned you on to Illinois, and made you know you wanted to be an Illini? What was the big recruiting draw for you?

  • There never was one specific thing that really made me an illini fan, I’ve just always been a fan of them. I never really realized i wanted to be an Illini until i received my first offer, and then I knew I wanted to play there. The biggest thing that made me want to come here was the atmosphere on game day, and the experience of the coaching staff.

– Are you enjoying campus?

  • I’m loving campus now even though it’s not the school year and everyone isn’t here yet

– What are you looking forward to most in your first season as an Illinois football player?

  • The biggest thing i’m looking forward to this year is to finally experience what it’s like to be an Illini, and suit up for game day.

– Are there any specific guys you’ve started to get close to and form a bond with already?

  • I’m pretty close with everyone on the offensive line and in my class and a few older players but not that many.

Now, Illini fans know that you’re coming off of an injury a bit ago, hows the rehabbing going for your shoulder, and how are you feeling?

  • The rehab is coming along great.. I’m making gains in the weight room which is good and also i should be ready for summer camp next week when it starts

If you could say one thing to Illinois football fans ahead of the coming season, right now, what would it be?

  • To stay committed to our program through the good and the bad.

Nate Williamson is a journalism student at the University of Illinois, working for illiniscoops.com, as well as Last Word on NFL. He is also the Co-Founder of TheSportsGuysSite.com… Stay tuned into this site for more articles from Nate and the rest of our Illini staff, and make sure to check back soon for more interviews, breakdowns, and discussion from the guys!

Illini Scoops Freshman Spotlight Series: Kenyon Sims

In the third edition of the Freshman Spotlight Series, It was time to turn it over to the offense. First year offensive coordinator Rod Smith is at the helm and adding completely new dimensions. He also hand picked a couple of recruits late in the recruiting cycle. QB Matt Robinson and RB Kenyon Sims, both from California, fit exactly what Rod Smith wants in his offense.

Kenyon Sims is from San Diego (Mission Bay HS) and had some very successful programs in hot pursuit before he committed to the Illini. Utah initially received a commitment from Kenyon, before he changed his mind in November of last year. Insert Rod Smith, and the rest is history. I caught up with the 5’11 190 pound Running back before he lands in Champaign to chat about his summer conditioning and the Impact he will have in his first season as an Illini

Interview with Kenyon Sims

I first wanted to know how his summer has been and what he was doing to stay ready before camp starts in August 3rd.

Kenyon said “My summers been good, I can’t complain, I live in America’s finest city. I’ve been training with my trainers a lot to stay in shape at carterswayathletix, spellman performance and with coach Daniel. I am excited and ready to hit camp next week.”

I asked Kenyon what he will bring to the Illini, and if he sees himself earning playing time early?

He told me “I’ll bring that dog, you know a savage, a baller and a hard worker. I most definitely will push and earn playing time.”

I then followed up to see how he sees himself fitting in with Rod Smith’s offense.

Kenyon told me “I see myself fitting perfectly in coach Rods offense. I’m an all around, all purpose back.”

Kenyon told me he arrives August 2nd, a day before camp starts.

Swami’s Take

This season will have a variety of talented runners. What interests me the most, is how will Rod Smith use the backs? How deep of a rotation will he utilize? One thing is for sure, every back who isn’t a freshman has missed big chunks of time with injury. Mike Epstein, Ravon Bonner and Reggie Corbin seem to be favorites to take the most reps, but Kenyon has an elusiveness and good size that may make it hard for Rod Smith not to give him some snaps. This is another battle in camp I will keep a close eye on.

Illini offensive excitement is in the air, a funny concept isn’t it?

Illini Scoops Freshman Spotlight Series: Calvin Avery

Illini Scoops presents its second article in the “Illini Scoops freshman Spotlight Series”. This series will be about getting to know your Illini football and Illini men’s basketball newcomers. It will feature interviews about the player themselves, a review/prediction on how the player might impact the Illini team respectively, etc.

This article will focus on 2018 Illini football commit Calvin Avery from Dallas, Texas. Calvin had a plethora of big time offers from programs such as Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, Texas, Tennessee, and USC. Along with this, Calvin is the highest rated recruit in the Illinois 2018 recruiting class. He came in as a 4-star DT who is ranked as the 17th best player in Texas, 14th best defensive tackle in the nation, and 170th best overall player in the nation.

Calvin Avery is a program changing recruit because of his impact on and off the field. On the field, he will have a big impact this year as he is a 6-2″ 315 lbs defensive tackle with a decent amount of quickness. Calvin Avery should be able to provide strong minutes this season for a a defense that will be underrated. Off the field, his commitment opened up the Bishop Dunne High School pipeline which set up the commitment of highly touted 2019 recruit Marquez Beason and has instilled interest in his cousin Zeriah Beason, a 2020 class recruit.

Speaking to Calvin Avery

AS: How was moving into campus? Who would you say are you closest to?

Calvin Avery: It was good and I can’t really choose. I’d have to say Jamal Milan more than anybody else.

AS: How do you think the defensive line is gelling?

Calvin Avery: Yeah, since I’ve been here we have all been getting along pretty well. The old guys have been teaching the young guys well. And overall no problems so far.

AS: Are you ready for camp and what are you hoping to learn there?

Calvin Avery: Absolutely ready! Being a defensive tackle I’m looking forward to hitting at camp. Also I’m hoping to get used to the college speed at camp.

AS: What do you think this year’s team can/should a accomplish this year?

Calvin Avery: Getting to a bowl game at least. That’s the goal.

Role for this Year:

As I mentioned previously in this article and as mentioned by Head Coach Lovie Smith today at B1G Ten Football Media Day, the area of concern is the defensive line, not because there isn’t talent, but there isn’t depth. Therefore I expect Calvin Avery to play big minutes, and possibly even start for this young defensive line. Also, Calvin is coming in with a big reputation as one of the nations best recruits. He’ll be expected to show his true talent game in and game out. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is one of the leaders in tackles for this year’s team. By the end of this year, I expect Calvin Avery to be a fan favorite in the Illini fan base.

Illini Scoops Freshman Spotlight Series: Khalan Tolson

Illini Scoops presents its first article in the “Illini Scoops freshman Spotlight Series”. This series will be about getting to know your Illini football and Illini men’s basketball newcomers. It will feature interviews about the player themselves, a review/prediction on how the player might impact the Illini team respectively, etc.

This article will focus on 2018 Illini football commit Khalan Tolson from Saint Petersburg, Fl. Khalan Tolson was recruited by some pretty successful schools such as Michigan and Michigan St. He was ranked as a 3-Star recruit coming into college and seemed like a fairly underrated player given his size of 5″11 and 200 lbs. Luckily the Illini were able to snag this quick OLB who will create a lot of havoc on the defensive side of the ball this coming season.

Speaking to the Tolson’s:

Reading the scouting reports of Khalan Tolson will let one understand the type of player he is but this doesn’t tell you much about him or his family. So I decided to learn more about him and his family and Khalan and his father, K.C. Tolson, were kind enough to talk to me for a bit about what’s going on with Khalan specifically and the football team in general.

AS: How’s your experience of moving into college going and what are you hoping to accomplish freshman year both athletically and academically?

Khalan Tolson: I moved in about a month ago and the experience is going pretty good so far. I want to play as a true freshman and academically maintain a 3.5 GPA through the fall semester.

AS: How would you describe your personality both on and off the field? And who would you say are you closest to as a result of that?

Khalan Tolson: I like to play with chip on my shoulder in the game, but off the field I’m a nice respectful young man. I’d say Bobby Roundtree without a question!!

AS: How much muscle weight do you think you’ve added since coming to campus? What should Illini fans expect from you this season as a result of this?

Khalan Tolson: I’ve put on 12 pounds since I’ve been here on campus and I think fans should expect a fast, sideline to sideline, hard hitting player when the season starts.

AS: What are you looking forward to most about the Illini football season and how does the team look from your perspective?

K.C. Tolson: I think they are doing a tremendous job with the team as a whole and with blending the class of 2018 in. From what I see and what my son tells me everyone is on the same page and are bonding well together.

AS: How does your son feel about this upcoming season?

K.C. Tolson: He’s very excited and is looking to play a great deal with hard work and effort as well as learning and getting comfortable with the playbook.

Role for this Year:

Last season the Illini lost a genuine star linebacker in Tre Watson who transferred out of Illinois to Maryland. This year, it is presumed that Khalan will be put into Watson’s role and will be expected to play some big minutes for this Illini team. He won’t be fazed by the pressure however, as Tolson has played in many important games in high school and been a part of elite recruit competitions such as The Opening. Just like Bennett Williams surprised many people last year and received ESPN Freshman All-American accolades, don’t be too surprised if Khalan Tolson has a similar impact this season.

4 Star JUCO LB Jashua Allen talks recruitment and possible Illini visit

The quest to land a fantastic 2019 recruiting class resumes as the Illini are in pursuit of JUCO inside linebacker Jashua Allen from Portland, Oregon and who currently plays at Arizona Western College. Jash has good size for his position at 6-2″ 225 lbs. He is quite quick as well which will help teams use him in blitz packages. Jash is ranked as a 4 star recruit, the 10th best JUCO player nationally, 2nd best JUCO linebacker, and the 2nd best JUCO player in Oregon.

Yesterday, Jashua narrowed down his list of schools to five schools which included Colorado, Washington State, Illinois, Iowa State, and Utah. Receiving a commitment from him would not only give the Illini their fourth 4 star recruit of the class, but more importantly depth at the linebacker position, which has been a position of concern. I took sometime to speak to him about what’s next in his recruitment and where the Illini fit in his plans.

Interview

AS: Tell me a little bit about your recruiting process? What have you learned from it?

Jashua Allen: I’ve learned a lot man… having schools reach out to you for doing something that you love is one of the greatest feelings. Especially being a JUCO football player.

AS: Coming from a JUCO program, how do you think that will help prepare you for your next destination and the next level after that?

Jashua Allen: It gives me the in game experience and I think the JUCO level has prepared me well. By playing against people that are just as good as me, it allows me to get better. The game speed is very different and it was definitely a jump from high school football. It took some time to adjust, but I was able to.

AS: Let’s talk about that top 5 you released, is there any leader? Any visits scheduled?

Jashua Allen: No leader and I plan to visit Illinois in October. That’s all so far.

AS: What stands out to you about Illinois?

Jashua Allen: What makes Illinois stand out is they are completely on the other side of the US from home. It’s just a different type of program. They are building something special and it may be the change that I need.

AS: Which coaches have you been in contact with and how is your relationship with them? Is there anything specific about them that stood out?

Jashua Allen: I’ve been in touch with Coach Nickerson and Coach Clark. They are both cool people and have shown themselves to be trustworthy.

AS: My final question, is there a timeline for your decision?

Jashua Allen: No, there is no timeline. I will be making the decision when I’m 100% sure.

Aarmani’s Take

JUCO players are always tough to gage because it can go 50/50. An example of this was former Illini and now Green Bay Packer Geronimo Allison. A lot of people were unsure about how he would fare in orange and blue and not too long after he became a fan favorite. Also, these players are usually only playing for 2 years before their eligibility is over so it doesn’t give you much time to learn the system. However, as I said earlier, Jashua Allen would be a nice get for the Illini as he’s another type of player that fits Lovie Smith’s hard nose defensive mentality.

Do we get him? As of right now, I’m not sure. The Illini like many of you know are still in hot pursuit of Trinity Catholic linebacker Shammond Cooper and I find it hard to believe that the Illini will land Allen and Cooper. Personally, I believe the staff would like to take both players but time will tell. Also, Jashua said he will be visiting Champaign in October which is the same time when another big time defensive Illini target ,Jacob Bandes, will be visiting. If the stars are aligned correctly, it could be a heck of a month for the Illini. I’d like to lean Illinois for Jashua Allen’s commitment but as everyone knows recruiting is fluid, and things can change in a heartbeat.