Damian Ilalio was named to the Kansas Football Coaches Association 6A All-State team. Ilalio, as most of you already know, played on the defensive line for Manhattan High School and will be headed across town to suit up for the Wildcats next season.
High School Career
Ilalio was a captain for an Indians team that finished the 2020 at 6-4. He recorded 61 total tackles, 6.5 sacks, 21.5 tackles for loss and recovered three fumbles in 10 games. As a junior he put up 68 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 13.5 tackles for loss and recovered a fumble in 11 games. Needless to say he was a key cog in a defense that helped the Indians finish the 2020 regular season on a four game winning streak before falling to East High School in the playoffs.
As a Recruit
As a recruit he is rated as a 3*(82) in the 247 composite. He is ranked as the 11th best overall player in Kansas. Nationally, he’s rated as the 108th defensive tackle and the 1902nd overall prospect in the 2020 class. Rivals recently bumped him up the the 6th overall player in the state after his stellar senior season. He has consistently moved up the rankings throughout his career, which is always nice to see. He has listed offers from K-State and Air Force, but take that with a grain of salt because he was considered a firm K-State lean and that may have depressed his offer list a bit.
Listed at 6’1, 270, he’s seen as a defensive tackle by the recruiting services, and that’s where I expect him to play for the Wildcats once he adds some bulk. Based on production, I think he should be rated a little higher, but he’s seen as a bit of a tweener. It may take him a season of lifting and eating before he’s physically ready to compete at defensive tackle in the Big 12.
For the Wildcats
Normally I would expect an athletic high school defensive lineman in need of weight gain to project as a 3-technique, but Ilalio may eventually end up at nose tackle. He’s not particularly tall at 6’0” or 6’1” but that could be to his advantage. He plays with solid leverage and is hard to move off the line. Throw another 20-30 pounds on his frame and I could see him as a fire hydrant nose tackle in the middle of the Wildcat defense.