I'm never quite sure how excited to be about junior college players. On the one hand they don't get the full four years in the system and you don't get to see them grow as much over time. On the other hand, they're coming into the program ready to play and can make an instant impact that you don't typically get from true freshman players. In this case, however, I'm quite excited about Kenny Iloka because, despite having only a fairly short list of offers he had an offer from the most important school for TCU to have a win over in recruiting: The Texas Longhorns.
Yes, not only did Iloka have a Texas offer, but the horns were actually the stated leaders in his recruitment before he took an official visit to each school and ended up committing to the good guys two days after his visit to the Longhorns. For the usual disclaimers when TCU wins a head to head recruiting battle with Texas, the Burnt Orange crew will throw in the timing of the commitment coming right after Mack Brown "resigned" as coach, but with that said- Texas both wanted Iloka bad and in fact needed him, according to Burnt Orange Nation's recruiting wiz Wescott Eberts, so he's a big get for the Frogs regardless of the circumstances.
With the disclaimers out of the way, why is Kenny Iloka such a big deal? In the first place, Trinity JuCo runs the same 4-2-5 defense that Patterson runs, including many of the same terms, so despite not having played a down for the Frogs yet Iloka has stepped onto the practice field with a solid knowledge of the playbook and knows his responsibilities as a safety in the 4-2-5. Additionally, Iloka combines nice 4.5-ish speed (which looks legit on game tape) with a big hitting mentality that will play well in the Big 12. Iloka has a very good instinctual timing on his hits, often arriving just as the ball hits the fingers, which puts him in perfect position to disrupt the pass. Be sure to check out his Hudl for highlights of Kenny in coverage and delivering some good hits.
All told, beating Texas for a recruit is sweet, but Kenny Iloka is more than just a recruiting win, he's a kid who should be an excellent safety for the Frogs the next two years, especially with the slight reshuffling in the secondary caused by the departures of Jason Verrett and blog favorite Elisha Olabode.