Looks Like University Of Illinois - James Frenchie

Sep 5, 2019

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DID YOU HEAR? James Frenchie picked Illinois. Oh, you heard that two weeks ago? You've already talked about it and moved on? I'm simply behind - once again - and writing about something you no longer care about? I have all the advantages of the internet and here I am writing like I'm a bi-weekly magazine you wait for in the mail.

Glad to know I've still got it.

So let's talk about height. Specifically, let's talk about how Lovie doesn't care about height when it comes to his skill players. Perhaps this is just "college football has changed", but as someone who cares about height, I'm concerned by our lack of it. Let's just start with a list of players 5'-10" or shorter:

2005: 5 (RB Marcus Mason, DB Sharriff Abdullah, RB E.B. Halsey, FB Justin Ijei, RB Morris Virgil)
2009: 4 (RB Troy Pollard, DB Patrick Nixon-Youman, DB Dere Hicks, LB Ashante Williams)
2014: 5 (RB Devin Church, RB Josh Ferguson, DB Dillan Cazley, RB Kendrick Foster, CB V'Angelo Bentley)
2020: 11 (WR Trevon Sidney, WR Kyron Cumby, WR Carlos Sandy, QB Isaiah Williams, RB Jakari Norwood, WR Dominic Stampley, DB James Knight, DB Nick Walker, DB Joseph Thompson, RB Reggie Love, WR James Frenchie)

That's notable, right? And if this is Lovie's final season and there's a new coach next season, it's very notable. If a new coach comes in here and one-seventh of the roster is made up of guys 5'-10" and shorter, it's very, very notable. I get that it's 2019 and football has changed and Kyler Murray was drafted number one overall and all of that, but still, I don't think you'll find many college teams with eleven guys who are 5'-10" or shorter.

OK, this is supposed to be about James Frenchie and I'm starting into a sermon again. We landed a consensus four-star recruit and here I am with ARE WE TOO SHORT? Let's talk Frenchie.

First, a comp. Is it weird that the first comp that comes to mind is Morris Virgil? And this was before I did my research for the lists above. (Actually, it's what started me down the path of looking up short players in the past.) Virgil was a high school running back (a very good high school running back, from Urbana) who later moved to defensive back in Champaign. He wasn't wiry like most quick, short recruits. He had some bulk.

When I watch Frenchie's film, I see a little of the same bulk. He takes so many handoffs in his film that I begin to wonder if he might be a tailback here. I'm guessing he was recruited for that Kyron Cumby slot role, so I doubt he lines up with the tailbacks, but watching the film of this ATH recruit, I see a little more RB than WR.

Which means I might see an eventual DB, just like Virgil. I don't know - maybe that's dumb to suggest. But I'm just looking at a high school athlete and reporting back what I see, and he looks a little more like V'Angelo Bentley to me.

HEYY, there's my comp. Throw Morris Virgil out - V'Angelo Bentley is the comp. On offense in high school (some running back, some wide receiver), was 5'-9", moved to cornerback in Champaign, returned punts. Yep - that's the comp.

So I guess this is me settling on "I think he's a cornerback in college" even though I have no idea if that's even a possibility. Maybe I just need to adapt to having a bunch of 5'-9" receivers (and a 5'-10" quarterback), but when I see Frenchie's film, I start thinking DB/kick returner.

The offers are good here. In the little film he made when he committed he showed that his finalists were Tennessee, Purdue, Louisville, Missouri, and Illinois. The way he made the film it came down to Illinois and Missouri. And Missouri lost. Which is nice.

But I don't think I get get into the fours with the Tom Cruises. Maybe it's the height, maybe it's the position, but I'm not seeing a four-Cruiser. Still a very solid recruit, still a lot of speed for the future, just a level below four Cruises.

James Frenchie - three and one-half Tom Cruises


MinnIllini on September 5, 2019 @ 09:39 AM

The bi-weekly magazine bit made me LOL. I’m not too worried about height on offense. Rod uses small, quick guys well. Only three of those players are on D. One is Knight who is a depth guy. Another is Walker probably the same. Thompson is taller than 5’10” now according to reports. If we are getting another V’Angelo Bentley...awesome!!!

DB50 on September 5, 2019 @ 11:46 AM

"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog." Mark Twain

Sometimes smart people have a way of reminding us that size isn't the only determining factor in the makeup of an outstanding athlete.

Douglascountyillinifan on September 5, 2019 @ 03:47 PM

All that speed though! Campbell, Carter, Washington and Bay Bay are all 6-2 to 6-4, and Smalling is 6-1 so there's still some height here, but speed kills!

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