WCIA — The Class of 2021 may have started slow for Illinois football but it has made up ground in a hurry. The Illini added another player on Wednesday, with Kalen Villanueva verbally committing to the program.
Illinois had just one commit at the start of May, since then they’ve added 11, including two just this week. Villanueva follows Florida defensive back DD Snyder, who pledged to play for the Illini on Monday.
“I came a long way from where I was at the beginning of my high school journey,” Villanueva said on his Twitter announcement. “If you were to ask me about my future in ninth grade, I don’t know what I’d tell you. As a kid I wasn’t the most athletic kid out there. That’s when my mom got me into the weight room and I worked until I could become the man I am today. I couldn’t have done this without my parents, my coaches, my family and friends pushing me.”
Villanueva will play linebacker for the Illini, according to 247Sports Illini Inquirer publisher Jeremy Werner. At 6-foot-1, 206 pounds, the Virginia native picked Illinois ahead of offers from Navy, Army, Penn, Campbell and William and Mary.
The Class of 2021 ranks 12th in the Big Ten and 60th nationally, according to 247Sports.