The 90 Illini - 70~66

Jul 01, 2018

Oops, I did it again. I played with the chart, got lost in the names. When putting together my 90 Illini list, I added Jartavius Martin twice. Which means I now have a slot in the 70's that I have to fill with a walkon. Someone is getting a promotion from the 90's all the way to #70.

I guess I could hold out for a late transfer. I've had that before. I have the list prepared, I'm chugging through, and we add a surprise 5th-year transfer in July and I don't have a spot for him. I guess I could risk it, wait to see if something like that happens, slide everyone down one spot, and then when that player transfers in, slide them onto the list. But then, if that doesn't happen, I'll be in the 20's and have to add a walkon. Too risky. I'll add a walkon now.

And there's a very player to add. Someone who joined the team since I started the list. That player is:

70. Dominic Stampley

Wide Receiver
Coffeyville Community College / originally from Champaign, Illinois
Junior (3 years to play 2)
Tom Cruises: 1

What I Know About Him:

He went to Champaign Centennial and then off to Coffeyville CC in Kansas. It didn't appear that he had any opportunities to play Division I football until his hometown team came along and offered him a spot.

This one is a complete unknown - there's not much film, he's a summer addition - so it's hard to get a read on where he might fit. But.. I had an open spot on this list, so here he is.

What I Expect From Him:

There are probably some opportunites for a receiver to break into the rotation this year. It seems like the main five guys will be Mikey Dudek, Ricky Smalling, 5th-year transfer Shaedon Meadors, Trenard Davis, and Carmoni Green. After that there are probably one or two spots in the rotation, so that will be a fight between senior Sam Mays, incoming freshmen Carlos Sandy and Edwin Carter, and then Stampley and the walkons.

With as much as I expect Rod Smith to use the tailbacks in the passing game, I'm thinking that the rotation of receivers hangs closer to five guys than seven. So, as a result, most of those other receivers are ranked down here.

69. Sydney Brown

Defensive Back
St. Stephens Episcopal High School / Bradenton, Florida
True Freshman (5 years to play 4)
Tom Cruises: 3.75

What I Know About Him:

Brown was, I think, one of those "we found a diamond in the rough but we CANNOT let anyone find out about him" recruits. Originally from Canada, he was playing football at St. Stephens Episcopal in Florida to hopefully get noticed. Illinois found him during his senior season, offered a few days before Signing Day, and we first heard his name after he had put pen to paper.

And he signed without ever visiting. Often times, that kind of recruitment goes like this: if you offer on November 15th, word gets around. There's a kid with a Power 5 offer in Bradenton. Other teams might go take a look. But if you wait in the background, monitoring every day to see if someone else has offered, the diamond stays hidden in the rough. Then, by the time the other schools learn about a kid tucked away at a small parochial school, he's already signed his LOI to you.

I'm guessing that's what happened with Brown. He has some great film, forcing fumbles left and right. But we kept him hidden until we could sign him because we didn't want word to get out.

What I Expect From Him:

This is the first one that feels ranked too low. Only the starting safety spots are set in stone. The third safety would have been Pat Nelson but he transferred to SMU. So we know that Stanley Green and Bennett Williams will start but we don't know anything beyond that. Sophomore Dawson DeGroot? Converted wide receiver Kendall Smith? One of the freshmen? Any of them could jump up and grab the #3 (or #4) spot.

But, since I haven't gotten to any of those names yet on this list, I guess I'm not expecting Brown to beat them out. Which is fine. Coming from a very small school (St. Stephens doesn't even play in the Florida state playoff system - they're part of a 28-school "division" of small private high schools who play against each other for an independent state title), he'll need to adjust to the speed of college football. I still have big hopes for the future, though, and I stand by his high Tom Cruise rating 100%. I think he's Stanley Green's understudy for two years and then (hopefully) three years as a big-hitting safety.

68. Sam Mays

Wide Receiver
The Kinkaid School / Missouri City, Texas
Senior (2 years to play 1)
Tom Cruises: 3.5

What I Know About Him:

Mays had a promising start to his career. Seven catches as a true freshman, then 13 catches as a sophomore (including the game-winner with two minutes to go against Michigan State in 2016). But then last year... 0 catches.

Actually, his numbers last year were 0 catches for -4 yards. If I'm remembering correctly, he fell on a fumble for a four yard loss? Something like that? Hard to remember - I blocked out so much of last season. Regardless, Mays was passed by the true freshmen (who wasn't?), announced that he was transferring in December, and then returned to the team in January to play out his senior season.

What I Expect From Him:

I could go either way on this. There have been examples of senior receivers having a breakout year. Miles Osei had six catches when he moved to receiver as a junior and then jumped to 35 catches as a senior. Jarred Fayson had a disappointing 16 catches as a junior and then jumped to 38 catches as a senior. It's been done before.

But the other option is that the youngsters who passed him last year continue to stay ahead of him. Regardless of player, I really think that has to be the default here. Will Lovie go with the seniors or will he go with the freshmen and sophomores? I think it's going to be the underclassmen almost every time. And because of that, I have Mays down here at #68. Now go prove me wrong.

67. Daniel Barker

Tight End
Deerfield Beach High School / Deerfield Beach, Florida
True Freshman (5 years to play 4)
Tom Cruises: 3

What I Know About Him:

Barker was the kind of recruiting battle we need to win. Not the big flashy battle - we're not going to win many of those just yet. But the "he got offers from Illinois, Kentucky, and Pitt in June and will now pick from those three" kind. Winning those are the foundation of rebuilding.

Barker is also high school teammates with incoming freshman running back Jakari Norwood, which makes for yet another set of teammates deciding to play for Lovie.

What I Expect From Him:

It's hard to answer this question because I still don't know how Rod Smith is going to use his tight ends. Caleb Reams moved from wide receiver back to tight end this spring, which suggest that the more receiver-y tight ends will have an advantage. That's likely good news for Barker if he wants to play early.

But if Smith needs run-blockers at tight end, Barker probably needs a few years in the weight program. I had a pretty good idea how Garrick McGee used his tight ends (I often referenced the 2010 tight ends in that same offense - think Evan Wilson and Eddie Viliunas). This is a different scheme, so I'm going to need to see how it works before I can decide how Barker (and Louis Dorsey, really), will be used.

66. Jordyn Slaughter

Offensive Lineman
Althoff Catholic High School / Belleville, Illinois
True Freshman (5 years to play 4)
Tom Cruises: 2.5

What I Know About Him:

Slaughter was a camp offer last June. Saw him work out, offered him, he verballed soon after.

And, like nearly every lineman Lovie recruits, he's massive. Arrives at 315 lbs (as a freshman). While I have the page open, here's a few of the freshman offensive linemen/defensive tackle weights on the updated online roster:

Keivan Myers: 330 lbs
Jordyn Slaughter: 315 lbs
Verdis Brown: 325 lbs
Calvin Avery: 330 lbs

The days of freshmen linemen arriving at 260 lbs and then adding weight (like Christian DiLauro and Austin Schmidt) appear to be long gone.

What I Expect From Him:

With Kendrick Green being listed on the offensive line now (he was at defensive tackle last year while redshirting), I think the depth chart going into camp will be something like:

LT: Cerny/Boyd
LG: Palczewski/Gavin
C: Kramer/Green
RG: Allegretti/Martin
LT: Lowe/Solomon

So I think guys like Slaughter will certainly redshirt. Last year, the freshmen came in and had to play right away (three of them starting). This year, with those freshmen becoming sophomores and likely holding onto those spots, I'm guessing (hoping) that guys like Slaughter can redshirt and then line up two years behind the sophomores. Meaning that if there are four sophomores starting this year, redshirt this entire class and then they'll be juniors the year after the starters graduate, not seniors.

So put me down for a Slaughter (and Myers, and Unije) redshirt.


JimmyTheLayup on July 02 @ 08:07 AM CDT

Doesn't Stampley have 3 to play 3?

Eagle on July 02 @ 08:54 AM CDT

Speaking of walk-on receivers, don’t forget that one of them is D’Ante Cox from Rochester. We saw how well that worked previously with Zach Grant. Cox should be in the return rotation and then next year in the receiver rotation. Talented, speedy, shifty runner.

Dr. Chim Richalds on July 02 @ 06:29 PM CDT

Back to back Britney references to open 90i posts... I, for one, look forward to this becoming a regular thing

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