The 90 Illini #25: Verdis Brown
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I guess I'm kind of tipping my hand here on who I expect to win the starting right guard spot. Of course, I think I had already written the Jordyn Slaughter 90i post before we got the "Blake Jeresaty had shoulder surgery and will miss the 2020 season" news, so it wouldn't have mattered anyway. But yes - I expect Verdis to win the job. Which means, with the Covid rule, he could be a starting lineman for the next four seasons.
25. Verdis Brown
Uniform number: 52
Year in school: Redshirt Sophomore (3 years to play 3; with the Covid rule, technically 4 to play 4)
Height: 6'-4" -- Weight: 320 lbs.
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
High School: IMG Academy, Bradenton, Florida
Five best offers: Ohio State, Oklahoma, LSU, Michigan, Florida State
Tom Cruise rating:
2019 statistics: Played in all 13 games, mostly on special teams (field goals and extra points).
It's funny - re-reading the Verdis Brown LLUOI post that I linked above, I did that thing where I was all "YOU GUYS check out the defensive line in 2020". The defensive line I was predicting:
WDE: Isaiah Gay/Owen Carney
DT: Calvin Avery/Kendrick Green
DT: Verdis Brown/Lere Oladipo
SDE: Bobby Roundtree/Jamal Woods
Green and Brown moved to the offensive line, Oladipo was kicked off the team, Woods moved to defensive tackle, and Roundtree had the tragic spinal injury and had to retire from football. The lesson - never sit down in December of 2017 and put together 2020 depth charts.
(Coming soon - my first 2023 depth chart!)
Verdis was originally committed to Florida State (along with IMG teammate and son-of-Howard Houston Griffith). When Jimbo Fischer left for Texas A&M, Griffith flipped to Notre Dame and Verdis flipped to Illinois. Missouri thought Verdis flipped to Missouri, and on signing day they accidentally released a graphic that included his name on their list of signees. But his LOI was sent to Illinois. Silly Missouri.
I feel like I just wrote something in the Calvin Avery 90i post that would fit here. Let me go look it up.
Yep, I'll just cut and paste the paragraph and make some edits. Edits are in bold.
Let's start here: a four-star recruit - someone from Chicago with offers from Ohio State and Oklahoma and LSU - gets a massive spotlight year three. It's just how it works. Some players are slow-starters, so during underclassmen years, you never say "why haven't we seen the top-350 player we recruited?". But junior year (or redshirt sophomore year), it's spotlight time. No way to avoid it. So this is a spotlight year for Verdis Brown. And 2021 is a spotlight year for Marquez Beason, Isaiah Williams, and Shammond Cooper. That's just how the whole thing works.
For Verdis, he needs to grab hold of the starting spot at left guard and not let go until A) he exhausts his eligibility after the 2023 season or B) he declares early for the NFL. With the "this year doesn't count" rule, he's more or less a freshman. Can play this year, next year, and the two after that if he wants. So I'm hoping he grabs that spot and never looks back.