Illini flip three-star East St. Louis OL Brandon Henderson

Illinois continues to increase its presence at one of the state’s prep powerhouses. Three-star East St. Louis offensive lineman Brandon Henderson flipped his commitment from Iowa State to Illinois on Tuesday. He joins Flyers teammate Anton Haydena three-star linebacker, in the Class of 2023.

“Thank you to the Iowa State staff and coaches for the opportunity, but I will be flipping my commitment to the University of Illinois,” Henderson posted on social media on Tuesday.

Henderson, who started for the Flyers Class 6A runner-up team last fall and the Class 6A state semifinalist this season, is the No. 82 offensive tackle prospect in the Class of 2023 and the No. 16 prospect in the state of Illinois, according to 247Sports. The 6-foot-5, 330-pound offensive tackle chose the Illini over power-five offers from Iowa State and Nebraska.

Henderson is the Illini’s 19th commitment in the Class of 2023 and the seventh in-state prospect to join the Illini in the Class of 2023. Illinois assistants Cory Patterson other Bart Miller led the Illini’s pursuit of Henderson.

Henderson said of Illinois in April: “Coach CP and Coach B know how to make a presence for sure. They feel like I’m a great fit for their team. They’re really cool. I mess with both of them. Coach Bielema tells me the same thing. He thinks I’m a dude and he feels like I can play tackle or offensive guard. He feels like I could do it all.”

What it means: Illinois is adding a high-ceiling talent to its offensive line. While he is the third highest-rated 2023 offensive lineman on East St. Louis, behind Miles McVay (Alabama commit) and Paris Patterson (Arkansas commit), Henderson may have just as high of a ceiling as those two. He has only been playing football for a few years but has a great combination of size, length, quick feet and athleticism. He has the potential to be a multi-year starter and provides positional flexibility to play both guard and tackle.

Also, to flip an offensive lineman committed to Iowa State’s Matt Campbell other Tom Manning says a lot about the Illini’s sell to offensive linemen under Bret Bielema other Bart Miller.

Henderson joins an Illini offensive line class that includes JUCO prospect Dez’Mond Schuster and two prep prospects: Wheaton (Ill.) St. Francis center/guard TJ McMillen and Princeton (NJ) Hun School tackle/guard Zachary Aamland. That impressive haul will continue to help Illinois build on a foundation of seven offensive linemen in the Class of 2022, which included two junior-college prospects and five prep prospects. The Illini are looking to add one more JUCO prospect in the class with highly rated Keyshawn Blackstock, Izavion Miller other Isaiah Jatta among their targets.

Of course, Henderson also increases the Illini’s presence at East St. Louis, a powerhouse that routinely produces multiple power-five prospects each year and is now a top transfer destination for many talented St. Louis area prospects. The Illini had added just two East. St. Louis prospects during the last decade — Stanley Green other James Knight — so getting two top-30 prospects from the Flyers roster in one recruiting class is significant.

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