Kendrick Green strengthening the Illini D-Line and Peoria Pipeline

CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) -- The Illinois defense only returns four starters from last years team, and zero on the defensive line. Peoria native Kendrick Green has his eye set on filling one of those spots.

Head coach Lovie Smith has plenty of options to choose from to hill those roles. He signed seven defensive lineman to the 2017 recruiting class.

"I think you're looking for ability as much as anything whether it's experience, ability, older guys or younger and we feel like we have some young players that are going to help us win a lot of football games," Smith said. "It's a process for them too. Talk to the defensive line, they're going to talk like 'Hey we need to attack coverage'. Guys in the secondary will say 'Hey, we need to get that ball out' so it all goes hand in hand. Every time there's a takeaway on defense, it's a combination of things having to go right."

Annice McEwan caught up with Green at Illinois media day to get his thoughts on his first year in the orange and blue.

ANNICE MCEWAN:
"Kendrick, you've been here for a couple weeks now and have kind of got the feel for it. What has been just your general feeling heading into camp and how the program is going right now?”

KENDRICK GREEN:
“From the older guys, they tell us all it’s a grind but you get through it, the season is a lot easier. It get’s you ready for the season. So, I’m excited. I’m ready to compete.”

ANNICE:
“How much has that ‘Peoria Pipeline,’ so to speak, been a connection for you here?”

KENDRICK:
“Kendrick (Foster) and Brandon (Roberts) were a big reason I came here. And I always grew up liking Illinois Football, so why not keep the home state flowing? 

ANNICE:
“This freshman class has been talked about as pretty close. Would that be a fair assessment, in your opinion?”

KENDRICK:
“Yeah, we’re always together. If we’re going down the street to go to Chipotle or whatever, we’re always with each other. We’re always in each other’s rooms. Nobody tries to isolate themselves or be by themselves. We’re always, always together.”

ANNICE:
“Are there any reservations with this team being a young one and relying on some of those freshmen, like you?”

KENDRICK:
“I think that’s something that builds us for the future. I don’t see it as a negative thing. It’s more of a positive thing to be honest. Get us experience and in a few years we’ll be more than ready to go.”

ANNICE:
“Other than getting more wins, what are some goals for you personally and for this team this next season?”

KENDRICK:
“I want to be on the field as much as possible, produce as much as I can. We want to get to a bowl game this year. That’s the the plan and eventually to the Big Ten Championship, things like that. Just always moving forward, step by step.” 


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