Looks Like University Of Illinois - Oluwole Betiku
I feel like all I do is write LLUOI posts anymore. I'll write about 24 of them per year between football and basketball (in 2018 I think I only wrote 16 of them), so that's about two per month. And now this is the fifth LLUOI post in 10 days. With a sixth coming tomorrow.
The sixth is a college teammate of the fifth, so maybe I should write both of them together. Actually no - that's an awful idea. Each player deserves his own LLUOI. Maybe I'll try to write both of them this evening. But that never works out.
I'll start by saying this. No, we did not land a "5-star defensive end". He was rated as a 5-star defensive end in high school, but he did not prove to be a 5-star defensive end in college. There are only 25-30 football players classified as 5-stars each year, and many of them last three years and then declare for the NFL draft. That is not the case with Betiku. He is, for lack of a better term, a bust.
But USC busts can be very useful in Champaign. Or even Evanston. Yes, I'm going with a purple comp here.
Kyle Prater was a five-star wide receiver from Chicago who picked USC. When things didn't work out at Southern Cal (read: he busted), he transferred to Northwestern. Northwestern fans went crazy. "A five star wide receiver has transferred to Northwestern!!" At the time, I could be heard telling every Northwestern fan within earshot that they did not land a five-star wide receiver. They landed a bust.
But that doesn't mean a five-star bust is useless. He was just incorrectly ranked in high school. Prater was a high three-star receiver, not a five-star receiver. And high three-star receivers can be quite useful in the lower end of the Big Ten. Northwestern fans saw this in 2014: Prater was their leading receiver with 51 catches. No, he didn't go on to NFL stardom like many predicted back in high school. He was undrafted and then cut from his first training camp with the Saints. But still, he was a productive college player once he transferred down to the proper level.
That's how I see Betiku. No, he's not a five-star. He was a freak athlete who had some injury issues and struggled to climb the USC depth chart. So now he's off to a lower level of football. And I'm thrilled to see him land in Champaign.
With so many college football transfers of late, 247 has started re-ranking transfers. Larry Boyd has been boosted to a 4-star. Bennett Williams was re-ranked up to a high three star. Both of those guys will be very solid at their next destination.
For Betiku, he was re-ranked from five-star to high three-star (rating of 87 - three stars run from 79 to 88). After reading up on him and watching a few clips, I agree with that re-ranking. No, he's not an Arrelious Benn recruit. But he might be a player at the talent level of say, Kendrick Green. And a bunch of Kendrick Greens on our roster would be fantastic.
Betiku will be a grad transfer with two years eligibility, meaning he can play this fall (without a waiver) and then return in 2020 for his senior season. So we're basically adding another defensive end to the 2017 class (or perhaps more accurately, a redshirt junior from the 2016 class). And I think that means we have more than enough depth at both strongside and weakside end. I'll probably forget some names but here's our DE's from memory:
WDE: Wole Betiku (JR), Isaiah Gay (JR), Ayo Shogbonyo (JR), Marc Mondesir (JR), Seth Coleman (FR)
SDE: Bobby Roundtree (JR), Owen Carney (JR), Lere Oladipo (SO), Ezekiel Holmes (rs-FR), Moses Okpala (FR)
There will obviously be some players switching between both positions there (Carney played WDE most all of last season), and the same thing is true of strongside defensive end and 3-technique defensive tackle (guys like Oladipo or Deon Pate or even incoming freshman Keith Randolph might be used at both spots). That's not important right now - it will sort itself out. What IS important: there's tons of depth. Roster-wise, I have nearly zero concerns on the defensive line at this point. It's basically "need a few nose-tackle types in this next class" and that's it.
What's that? You want me to put the defensive ends in order of most snaps played? OK, but only if you let me claim that Lere Oladipo will play more snaps at DT than DE and leave him off the list. The top five defensive ends this season, in order of snaps played:
Let's get to Tom Cruises. No, this isn't a five Cruiser. Or even a four Cruiser. But this is a solid three Cruiser entering his redshirt junior season. And that's a really solid pickup.
Wole Betiku - Three Tom Cruises