The Texas Longhorns need some help at the safety position in 2014 with the graduation of the versatile Adrian Phillips, so the coaching staff took steps in the direction of securing depth there by offering Tyler Junior College's Kenny Iloka on Thursday, according to multiple reports.
A consensus-three star prospect rated as the No. 3 junior college safety nationally in the 247Sports Composite rankings, the 6'2, 205-pounder is the No. 9 junior college player in the state of Texas. The offer came a day after a campus visit from defensive backs coach Duane Akina.
There are future visits on tap to TCU on December 13 and then Texas on December 14, but the Horns appear to be the heavy favorite at this point -- all five of the predictions in the Crystal Ball now have Texas as the choice, perhaps in large part because Iloka told 247Sports that they are his leader already with a decision expected next week.
Iloka's older brother, George, played for Boise State and is now with the Bengals in the NFL. A big-bodied safety who doesn't make a ton of plays in the passing game -- he has two only interceptions and six passes broken up combined over his two seasons in Tyler -- he is a prolific tackler, having registered 120 stops in 2013.
The reported athleticism for Iloka on his Hudl page is certainly positive, with a 4.55 40, a 4.15 shuttle time, and a 34-inch vertical, though all of those numbers of course should be taken with a grain of salt.
On film, there's certainly evidence of that athleticism, as Iloka has quick feet that allow him to change direction in the open field to demonstrate a good tackling radius, as well as some significant striking ability when he has the chance to get some momentum behind his hits. Think Adrian Colbert without quite as much speed.
Mostly a Cover 2 safety for Tyler JC, he's not exactly the traditional safety for Akina since he looks to play, exactly the skills that Akina covets the most because of his press-man coverage preferences. Recall that currently redshirting freshman Erik Huhn had to demonstrate that particular ability in camp to receive his offer.
Of course, there will likely be a new scheme in place for next season, so it probably doesn't matter as much that Iloka isn't a pure fit for what Akina typically likes.
And given the need at the position for a player who can contribute early and Lewisville (Texas) Hebron safety Jamal Adams' recruitment trending in the direction of LSU, Iloka may be the best bet to provide an insurance policy for Colbert and Josh Turner as a mid-term enrollee.