It’s been no secret the Illini are in need on the Defensive Line ahead of the 2020 football season. Illinois has used the transfer market as a free agency, which has worked out well over the past two seasons. Ironically, Lovie Smith treating transfers like a pro format of free agency has been a sort of saving grace.
That trends continues today with the addition of preseason FCS All-American DT Roderick Perry from South Carolina State. Roderick had offers and meetings with coaches from Florida, Virginia, Duke, Ole Miss and West Virginia. He was only in the portal for little over a day before Illinois offered and showed him love. Having been in the portal less than a week, mainly because the MEAC canceled it’s season, things have happens quickly.
I caught up with the talented DT about why he chose Illinois and how things transpired this fast.
Roderick Perry Q&A
Why illinois? Roderick told me “The staff showed me nothing but love from get go. Stood out to me like that guy that wants the girl so bad that he keeps showering her with love and does things without her having to ask. I had a great zoom visit with Al Davis, Jimmy Lindsey and Lovie Smith.”
In regards to playing time playing a major factor? He said “Playing time was big at every school but Illinois just felt right. This wasn’t an easy decision, many variables but at the end of the day, only one coach personally called me on the phone and made it one on one. Lovie Smith did that, meant a lot to me.”
I asked him if playing for Lovie and a majority African American staff played any role either? Roderick said “If any coach can benefit from my time and efforts, I am glad it can be Lovie. And it’s good to play in a place you haven’t been and thrive in spots you may not be comfortable yet.”
Roderick also told me the only reason he even thought about leaving SCSU was because of the canceled MEAC season. It wasn’t easy but to achieve his dreams, this was necessary.
Illinois got a steal landing Roderick Perry. Calling him a tank or a beast doesn’t do him justice. He was under recruited out of high school and has played with a chip on his shoulder for 3 plus years now, and I don’t expect it to stop in Champaign. I would be suprised if he wasn’t the starter at DT for the opening week of the season. Can’t teach toughness and Competitive drive, Roderick has both. Illinois got their man