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PEORIA — Kendrick Green's wait to join a professional football team is over.

Illinois' All-American guard was drafted Friday night by the Pittsburgh Steelers, taken in the third round at No. 87 overall.

Green is the seventh Illini offensive lineman drafted since 2009, joining the likes of Nick Allegretti in 2019 and Ted Karras in 2016. Allegretti was the most recent Illinois athlete drafted prior to Green.

Green made 33 starts on the offensive line — occasionally shifting from left guard to center as required — in his four-year Illini career after initially joining the program in 2017 as a defensive lineman. For his senior season of 2020, Green was named a USA Today second-team All-American and an All-Big Ten first-teamer by the Associated Press and the league's coaches and media.

Green is the eighth player in Illini football history drafted by the Steelers, and the most recent since defensive back Terry Hawthorne in 2013.

"We love the way that he plays … in terms of changing our demeanor and just the type of attitude we want to carry onto the field. He embodies all of that," Steelers offensive line coach Adrian Klemm said in a post-third round press conference streamed on Twitter. "He has great leadership qualities. He’s an alpha in that program, and he’s just a tremendous player. He can do it all."

Green was the fifth guard and 19th offensive lineman selected in this year's draft. On the guard front, he followed USC's Alijah Vera-Tucker (14th; New York Jets), Clemson's Jackson Carman (46th; Cincinnati Bengals), Notre Dame's Aaron Banks (48th; San Francisco 49ers) and Ohio State's Wyatt Davis (86th; Minnesota Vikings).

Should Green eventually play in an NFL game, he'll be the seventh Peoria High graduate in league history to achieve that feat, according to Pro Football Reference. The last was tackle Darryl Ashmore with four teams between 1993 and 2001.

Colin Likas covers Illinois football and high school sports at The News-Gazette. He can be reached at clikas@news-gazette.com, or on Twitter at @clikasNG.

College/Prep Sports Reporter

Colin Likas covers Illinois football and high school sports at The News-Gazette. His email is clikas@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@clikasNG).

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