The 90 Illini #77: Quinton McCoy
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I'll always associate Quinton McCoy with the St. Louis Blues winning the Stanley Cup in 2019. Instead of watching Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals that year, I wrote the McCoy LLUOI post. Even though I was a huge Blues fan as a kid, and even though my Forbes Hall dorm room had a "Hull and Oates" poster with both Brett Hull and Adam Oates holding guitars on the ice, I could barely call myself a Blues fan in 2019. I didn't change teams or anything, I just didn't follow very closely. Starting in 2011 or so, my fandom percentages moved to 90% Illini football and basketball and 10% everything else (Aston Villa, Cardinals, Blues), with the Blues pulling up the rear.
So that night, it didn't feel right to watch Game 7. That was for the diehard Blues fans who had waited for that moment since birth. I would watch high school football film and write up an article on our newest defensive tackle recruit. And then just wait for score updates to push to my phone.
The Blues won, I took a 2 hour break to watch the postgame stuff, and then I returned to my computer and gave McCoy 3.5 Cruises.
77. Quinton McCoy
Uniform number: 47
Year in school: Redshirt Freshman (4 years to play 4; with the Covid rule, technically 5 years to play 4)
Height: 6'-3" -- Weight: 290 lbs.
Hometown: Valrico, Florida
High School: Bloomingdale HS
Five best offers: Kentucky, Louisville, Iowa State, South Florida, Southern Miss
Tom Cruise rating:
2020 statistics: Played in 2 games (Northwestern and Penn State).
As I recall, from that list above, it came down to Kentucky, Louisville, or Illinois. McCoy visited all three in early June, made a decision once he got home, and picked Illinois.
My comp for him at the time was Antonio Shelton. Shelton was a low-3-star DT recruit who had verballed to Illinois. But then, just before signing day, Michigan flipped a DT recruit from Penn State and so Penn State flipped Shelton from Illinois. Shelton went on to start for two years at Penn State and has now grad-transferred to Florida for his final season. So here's hoping that comp was right on.
Like everyone in the 2020 class, McCoy got a raw deal last year. His first year of college football and it's The Covid Year so he's basically quarantined and can't have a freshman year of college. And then the shortened season falls apart, his coach is fired, and everything he was thinking about on New Years Day 2020 had completely changed by New Years Day 2021.
He did get to play in two games, though. Those games were the "it's all over" games in December against Northwestern and Penn State with the old coach being fired the day after the Northwestern game and the new coach being hired the day of the Penn State game. Now, he gets to look for a fit in a brand new defense. I think the target for him is the nose tackle position, so his goal for this season is to win the battle for the third NT spot behind Roderick Perry and Calvin Avery. I think that battle will be with juco recruit Anthony Shipton (who also kind of missed out on a "first year" last season).
Of the guys in front of him, Perry has 1 more year of eligibility and Avery and Shipton only have two. So really, with this being a year where he could technically redshirt, I think McCoy should have his sights set on being the starting NT in 2023, 2024, and 2025.