The Illinois Fighting Illini found a solid inside linebacker in the state of Kansas when they secured a verbal commitment from Henry McGrew on 6/18/13. ESPN calls him a “tough customer capable of playing early”, and that’s a good thing because the Illini are losing their best linebacker with the departure of Jonathan Brown thus opening up an opportunity for someone to step in and assert himself into the mix for playing time.
The 6’3″, 240 pound Blue Valley (Stilwell) senior chose Illinois over offers from Iowa State, Kansas, Northern Illinois, Toledo, and Idaho. He is rated as a 2 Star recruit by Rivals, 247Sports, and Scout.
McGrew recorded 159 tackles (83 solo), 3.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 touchdowns (TDs as Wildcat QB) during his 5A State Championship Senior Campaign. During his junior year McGrew had 109 tackles, 5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 8 touchdowns (TDs as Wildcat QB).
In addition to the announcement of his inclusion on the All-USA Kansas first team, McGrew earned several other accolades due to his outstanding performance on the gridiron:
- 1st Team All-USA Kansas (USA Today)
- 1st Team All-State (Rivals-Hovpen Sports)
- 1st Team All-State (Wichita Eagle)
- 1st Team All-State (Topeka Capital Journal)
- 1st Team All-State (Kansas Preps)
- 1st Team “Elite 81″ Kansas City All-Metro (810 Varsity)
- 1st Team All-Eastern Kansas League
- 2nd Team All-Kanas City Metro (KC Star)
I had a chance to catch up with Mr. McGrew and asked him one simple question that he was gracious enough to answer:
RK: What intrigued you / helped you decide Illinois was the right fit for you?
HM: “I chose Illinois because it is a great fit for me. The Big Ten is a physical league, which is what I like. The coaches wanted me from day one, and they pursued me continuously. I really connected with the coaches and players.”
Straight up, all business, and very succinct. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that at all. Opposing running backs, quarterbacks, and wide receivers might be in big trouble the next few years with McGrew patrolling the middle of the field.
Welcome aboard, Henry McGrew! We look forward to watching you grow, and improve, as a player over the next four years in the Illini uniform.
You can follow Ryan on Twitter @RPKraemer.