The 90 Illini - 50 ~ 46

Jul 27, 2019

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This has been the wifi-less July. No wifi July. Here I am with another LLOUI post to write an no wifi to be found. I promise this is my last time out of town for a while, which means that when I get to my hotel room at training camp next week, there's going to be a flow of words coming out of this keyboard like you've never seen. But right now, my normal level of LLUOI research isn't really possible.

50. Kievan Myers

Offensive Lineman - #72
Bishop Dunne High School / Dallas, Texas
Redshirt Freshman (4 years to play 4)
Tom Cruises: 3

What I Know About Him:

I know he has the greatest glasses of all time. The greatest. Glasses. Of all time.

He's also the key to the whole Bishop Dunne high school thing. He had offers from Missouri, Mississippi State, Colorado, Utah, and others but picked Illinois in late June of 2017. That led to 4-star teammate Calvin Avery picking Illinois, which led to 4-star teammate Marquez Beason picking Illinois. So when they swap out their Illini hats for NFL hats at the draft some day, thank Myers that he started the whole thing.

What I Expect From Him:

This is the wildcard of all wildcards. I have him at #50, but honestly, he could be #11. Five weeks from now he could honestly be our starting right guard. We added Richie Petitbon as a grad transfer to replace Nick Allegretti, but the job isn't 100% his yet. Myers could come from out of nowhere and win the job.

Why "out of nowhere"? Because we don't really know anything about him. He missed all of training camp last year and wasn't on campus until September. He played in spring ball this year, but training camp next week (next week!) is the first chance to see him really compete for a spot.

What's the most likely scenario? Petitbon's backup at right guard this year and then three year starter at right guard.

49. Edwin Carter

Wide Receiver - #80
Sandalwood High School / Jacksonville, Florida
Redshirt Freshman (4 years to play 4)
Tom Cruises: 1.5

What I Know About Him:

All he does is catch touchdowns. Two career receptions, both touchdowns.

But on the second one, the pass was high, and as the Western Illinois safety was flying in to make the tackle, Carter jumped for the ball, the safety's hit was delivered on the knee, and Carter's season was over. Two consecutive games, two safeties going for the tackle, two wide receivers jumping for the ball (Dudek and Carter), two hits delivered to the knee instead of the waist, two players with season-ending knee injuries.

What I Expect From Him:

He tweeted last week that he's 100% cleared for the season, so the WR battle at camp gets even more interesting. I think I've said this before during this series, but any of 15 receivers could be in the six or seven WR's in the regular rotation. Walkons, true freshmen, transfers - everyone has a shot.

This is where I'd normally say what I specifically expect ("5th on the team in catches"), but until I get to camp, honestly, I have no idea. Either the transfers steal a ton of the catches or they steal none, and that determines where everyone else falls.

48. Khalan Tolson

Linebacker - #45
Admiral Farragut Academy / St. Petersburg, Florida
Sophomore (4 years to play 3)
Tom Cruises: 2.5

What I Know About Him:

OK, so this range (50 to 45) will now be known as "players who could honestly be in the top-30 but I'm just not sure where they fit in the rotation so I'm keeping them down here at #48". It's a working title.

Tolson was a solid recruit (early offers from Michigan and Michigan State), so there are high expectations for the future. He was one of only four true freshmen to play in every single game last season so yep I totally have him too low on this list.

What I Expect From Him:

Linebacker will be tricky to figure out with some of the safeties (Delano Ware, Dawson DeGroot) moving into the rotation there, so it's hard to say where Tolson fits in. The first wave is probably Harding, Hansen, Ware, and Eifler, meaning Tolson is maybe the "fifth" linebacker this season.

But that could all change by the end of camp. Where does Shammond Cooper fit in? What situations will Ware be used? See why it's so hard to do this before camp starts?

47. Jake Stover

Offensive Lineman - #68
St. Rita High School / Chicago, Illinois
Sophomore walkon (3 years to play 3)
Tom Cruises: not rated (walkon)

What I Know About Him:

Again, feels like I have him too low. Walkon, yes, but when you play in four games as a freshman, people need to start paying attention to you. At points during last season, he was probably the 6th offensive linemen. Lowe-Green-Kramer-Allegretti-Palcho and then Stover.

So let's not consider him a walkon (honestly, I'm hoping the coaches see this and put him on scholarship soon - that's always a big boost to the walkon program when a former walkon goes on scholarship). I really do think that when Dougie Kramer graduates, Jake Stover will be the starting center.

What I Expect From Him:

Hey look I'm doing it again. "What I expect" under "What I know". Every single year.

For Stover the question becomes whether his role is simply "backup center" or if that expands to where he's in the hunt for one of the guard spots. If he was the sixth man last season, it's not insane to say that he could possibly win the starting right guard spot this season, walkon or no walkon.

But I'm trying to be realistic here, so I'm putting him at #47 on this list. The goal: starting center in 2021. The stretch goal: push for that starting guard spot, either this year or next year.

46. Caleb Reams

Wide Receiver - #13
Warren Township High School / Gurnee, Illinois
Senior (1 year to play 1)
Tom Cruises: 2

What I Know About Him:

The ultimate tweener. "Ultimate" meaning he's exactly halfway between tight end and wide receiver. Those players who get stuck between DE and DT? He's the offensive version of that. Maybe a little too small for TE, maybe a little too big for WR.

Last season, he finally settled at WR. And was probably our best blocking WR. But was still stuck in tweener land. Drop 0.2 from his 40 time and he's a WR. Add 15 lbs without losing agility and he's a TE. But he's stuck right in the middle.

What I Expect From Him:

Man would I LOVE a senior year breakout season from Reams (like, say, Miles Osei). Nothing for several years and then a huge surge as a senior. College football lives and breathes upon such things.

Because again - WR is a complete unknown. Six guys are going to surge to the front and steal the catches. Might as well be a senior, right?


ktal on July 27, 2019 @ 02:05 PM

Wait, training camp is next week? That's fantastic! It still felt a month away. I'm gonna read all the words. Thanks Robert!

Eagle on July 27, 2019 @ 10:57 PM

If he's capable of truly playing, Edwin Carter will see the field. He made those two catches look easy. Got separation, held onto the ball through a tough hit. I have high expectations for Edwin. We're rooting for you man!

Illinimac68 on July 29, 2019 @ 01:52 PM

This. I hope Edwin has a great career.

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