CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Sedarius McConnell is another example of what this University of Illinois football coaching staff proves to be a fruitful pipeline of talent from Atlanta.
McConnell, who will be entering his senior year at Westlake High School in Atlanta, is a three-star defensive end prospect by Rivals.com and not rated by 247Sports.com. McConnell announced his verbal pledge Wednesday afternoon on Twitter and Instagram.
The college recruiting consequences surrounding the coronavirus epidemic may be contributing to McConnell’s low rating or in the case of 247Sports.com, no rating at all. McConnell has been unable to attend prestigious state-wide and/or national summer camps held by college programs and various recruiting services and therefore, hasn’t been vetted by enough evaluators to warrant a star rating yet. Rivals.com has McConnell rated as a three-star prospect and the 90th-best player in Georgia in the 2021 recruiting class.
What is also interesting about McConnell, who is listed at 6-foot-2 and anywhere between 245-260 pounds depending on the recruiting services, is he released a list of a top six favorite programs nearly two weeks before getting his scholarship offer from Illinois on April 17. McConnell’s list of top programs were: Wake Forest, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Kansas, Vanderbilt and Minnesota.
"A big part of my decision was the chance I will have to play early," McConnell told Rivals.com. "The coaches have been telling me about their four senior defensive ends and how they need me. They made me feel very wanted and they have shown me I can play early there. That was very important to me."
However, thanks to the recruiting talents of new Illini defensive ends coach Jimmy Lindsey, who has many connections in the Atlanta area and was the primary recruiter of Griffin, Ga., native and three-star athlete Prince Green (who committed to Illinois on May 3) the Illini’s second pledge to its 2021 class, McConnell didn’t take much time with his decision after hearing from the Illinois coaching staff.
Bellamy sent out a tweet last week saying “Why not do it on a Tuesday....#BuiltForThis #WhosNext #ILLGang” including a photo of rapper T.I. with the words “THANK YOU AGAIN ATLANTA”. Based off this cryptic tweet from the Illini's running backs coach, it was hard to envision at least one of these alleged commitments wasn't from the Atlanta area and would join Green as Atlanta prospects in this 2021 Illini class.