Illinois football has a long history of great kickers, and we seem on the verge of adding another potential star for 2023.
The history of the Illini kickers is rich. Neil Rackers was one of the best players in the NFL for almost a decade with the Arizona Cardinals. In 2005 he even appeared in the Pro Bowl. Chase McLaughlin has been in the NFL for three years and has kicked for numerous franchise players.
The list could go on, but you get the point. Illinois is producing some great talent who can kick the ball. It’s important to keep that pipeline going. I want a great kicker now and for the foreseeable future. Because of this, the potential landing of David Olano would be significant to the program.
Olano is a 5-foot-10, 160-pound kicker from Naperville North High School and lives in Naperville, Illinois. He’s not rated or ranked in the class of 2023 by 247Sports, but they don’t often rate or rank kickers. There is only one kicker that has a rating or ranking.
The recruiting attention is there for Olano. He has an offer from the Air Force, but he’s also eyeing numerous teams like Minnesota, Alabama and Indiana, to name a few. Illinois is also big on Olano, and the hunt for the talented kicker is heating up.
Illinois Football is a favorite to land a top kicker in the class of 2023.
On Thursday, Olano announced that he would be making an official visit to Champaign this weekend. About 24 hours later, on the way to Illinois, Olano announced that the Illini had offered him a scholarship.
— David Olano (@DavidOlano8) June 17, 2022
All of this recruitment drive is big news for Orange and Blue, but so is the fact that it looks like we’re now the favorites to land Olano. Just yesterday, 247Sports’ Jeremy Werner made a crystal ball prediction for Olano. Werner has Illinois as favorites to land him with an eight-out-of-ten confidence. To me, that means this is a near-lockdown for the Illini.
Some people might read this and think, what’s the big deal, he’s just a kicker. However, this isn’t just a kicker off the street. This is a highly talented kid. Olano is one of the best in the country.
According to Kohl’s Professional Camps, which is usually the benchmark for kickers and players, Olano is a five-star kicker. In his report on the website, they mention that Olano scored all of his field goals, but the one line that caught my eye was the following.
“Olano should be one of the top kickers in the 2023 class.”
That’s high praise. But they weren’t the only big outlet Olano has praised highly. He accepted an invitation to the Adidas All-American Bowl, scheduled for January 7, 2023. This is one of the best high school all star games in the country.
Bret Bielema doesn’t just focus on one area of Illinois’ football program. He builds this team with all three phases of the game. Adding a player like Olano would be huge for the Illini.