Add to that the Covid situation. The NCAA lifted the cap of 85 scholarship players in 2021 since everyone could stick around for a bonus year. They reduced that back down to 85 for 2022 but there are still three classes of players who have a bonus year to use. If this was a typical year, the staff would be taking players from four (and in the case of redshirts, five) recruiting classes and filling out the 85 scholarships. Now, they're taking players from five (and in the case of redshirts, six) recruiting classes.
When deciding to do that, the NCAA essentially said to every Division I program "all of you are going to have to cut 10-15 players this offseason". For this Illinois team, 19 players went out the door. Some, like Daniel Barker, went looking for catches somewhere else. Others are just done with football. And yes, some were told they probably weren't ever going to be higher than third string.