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Sedarius McConnell talks Illinois commitment

Early in May, Atlanta (Ga.) Westlake defensive end Sedarius McConnell made the decision that Illinois was the school for him. It came down to the Illini and Wake Forest, and that first week was when he knew.

"I had been thinking about it for a little while, then I just made the decision," said McConnell. "I told the Illinois coaches last week and now I am making it public."

With visits being banned since mid March, the virtual visits have been big in commitments this spring, and with this one, that played a role too.

"I was able to see everything I needed to see through the videos and the photos the Illinois coaches sent me. I saw the stadium, I saw the nutrition area, I saw the facilities, I saw the locker rooms — I saw a lot. It is all nice, but the football facilities really stood out to me a lot.

"That all helped with my decision. I learned a lot through all of that."

McConnell wants to major in Sports Marketing and Illinois being strong in that department made them that much more appealing as well.

Like most recruits, this 6-foot-2, 259 pounder was looking for the best opportunity to get on the field. The coaches made it clear to McConnell that he was needed in Champagne.

"A big part of my decision was the chance I will have to play early," said McConnell. "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."

The coach he is closest to is Jimmy Lindsey, the defensive ends coach for the Illini. He and McConnell have been talking almost daily over the last two months, and it was him that got the news first.

"I called coach Lindsey first about my commitment, then right after that, I got on the phone with coach Lovie Smith. Both coaches very excited and very fired up about my decision.

"I told them that I had wanted to commit to Illinois and it really wasn't a tough decision. They really made me feel wanted and that made it easy."