Illinois Football: DT Zion Rucker receives Illini offer

The Illinois football team has been busy offering scholarships to players who could help them in the near future.

Lovie Smith lost a lot of depth on the interior defensive line after the 2019 campaign. It is hard to replace players like Jamal Milan and Tymir Oliver. But snagging some talented big defensive tackles will help tremendously. That is why I like the offer to Zion Rucker.

Rucker is a 6-foot-4, 260-pound defensive tackle from Smyrna High School and resides in Smyrna, Tennessee. He is rated as a three-star recruit who is the No. 1353 player in the class of 2021 and the No. 72 defensive tackle in the nation. He is also the No. 36 player in the state of Tennessee.

The offers are starting to come in for this talented defensive tackle. Illinois adds to a list of programs eyeing Rucker, which includes Kentucky and Vanderbilt. So, the Illini are going to have their work cut out for them if they want to add him to the class of 2021.


There is a lot to unpack when watching what Rucker can do on the football field. Let’s first start off with him getting off the line of scrimmage. He isn’t the quickest off the line, but that can change with proper training at the next level. Despite his speed not exactly being there, he does a lot of great things to make up for it.

I love how Rucker keeps his head up. The ability to keep his head up enables the pass rush to be more effective. He is able to see where the ball is going. He can read the quarterback’s eyes and knows when the quarterback is throwing the ball. This gives Rucker the opportunity to bat the ball down. I also love his ability to shed blockers. He has great power and that will be an asset at the next level.

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This was a good offer by Illinois. I think Rucker would come into the program and redshirt year one. This will help him get into a college-level training regimen. Once he is with the Illini for a year, I think he is going to be dangerous as a redshirt freshman. This kid has a bright future.

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