The 90 Illini #40: Kionte Curry


Robert
Jul 28, 2022
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I feel like Kionte Curry is grouped in with the large class of defensive backs brought in by Lovie's staff in the 2021 class. Yes, Curry is part of the 2021 class, but he was added in March by Bret Bielema/Ryan Walters/Aaron Henry, not added the previous summer by Lovie Smith/Miles Smith/Keynodo Hudson.

The defensive backs added in that class (players that signed three days before Bielema got the job):

Tyler Strain
Daniel Edwards
DD Snyder
Joriell Washington
Prince Green

The defensive backs added to that class after Bielema got the job:

40. Kionte Curry

Defensive Back
Uniform number: 1
Year in school: Redshirt Freshman (4 years to play 4)
Height: 6'-0" -- Weight: 195 lbs.
Hometown: Mims, Florida
High School: Cocoa HS
Five best offers: Nebraska, West Virginia, Kentucky, Iowa State, Cincinnati
Tom Cruise rating:

2021 statistics: Did not play, redshirted.

Background

As I wrote in his LLUOI post linked there, it appears that Kionte Curry took the Devon Witherspoon route to campus. Had a P5 offer list but committed to a juco, so the assumption is that there was a clearinghouse/eligibility issue that wouldn't allow him to go directly to a P5 school - he'd have to go to juco first. But then, between signing day and the season, the issue was resolved and he enrolled.

We know that this was the case with Witherspoon, but we don't know that we know it was the case with Curry. We only know that he named this top-5 in August 2020 just before his senior season in high school: Nebraska, Iowa State, Washington State, Cincinnati, and Georgia Tech; then, nothing happens recruiting-wise until he signs with Dodge City Community College. The assumption: there must have been an NCAA Clearinghouse issue which prevented him from being a full qualifier so he'd have to go the juco route.

But some kids still have the opportunity to clean up that clearinghouse issue before they finish high school, and Curry apparently did because on February 23rd of 2021 (the day that Mady Sissoko broke Ayo's nose), Curry committed to Bret Bielema and Illinois. He enrolled in the summer and spent last season on the sideline as a redshirt.

2022 Outlook

As you can see from the Cruises there, I was a huge fan of Curry's film. Just for fun, here's a few of the gifs from that LLUOI article. I just love his awareness so much.

As soon as the QB releases the ball, Curry releases the receiver who is supposed to drag him deep and tracks the ball:

Same thing here. Eyes up, sees where the pass is going, releases, sticks:

Big, big fan.

My guess for this season: Sydney Brown understudy. They'll need a hyper-aware safety next season after Syd graduates, and I think Curry is the guy. So this year - a few series' here and there backing up Syd. Next year - starting in Syd's spot.

OK, fine, one more gif. Syd 2.0:

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