Looks Like University Of Illinois - Brevyn Jones

May 03, 2020

Red rover red rover send transfers on over.

I'll be honest - I'm a bit surprised that the staff filled the 84th scholarship in April. The last few summers they've added several players, many of them discovered over the summer (transfers like Brandon Peters and Josh Imatorbhebhe; high school recruits like Dalevon Campbell and Devon Witherspoon), but now they head into the summer with only one to give. Which is fine - their prerogative - but I'm still kinda surprised.

Of course, I'm guessing the list for these six "transfer" scholarships included an immediately eligible offensive lineman and a sit-out offensive lineman. So maybe I shouldn't say "surprised".

Let's look at this in terms of long-term need. During our first bye-week last fall I put together a depth chart for 2020 and then, during the second bye week (in November), I did a depth chart for 2021. The 2020 depth chart revealed some holes that needed to be filled by immediately-eligible transfers (an example: the coaches chose to add Blake Jeresaty as a replacement for Richie Petitbon), and the 2021 depth chart revealed spots that needed to be filled by the 2020 recruiting class (longer-term fixes). These were mostly second-string spots in 2021. I'm not suggesting recruit someone in 2020 as a certain starter in 2021 - I'm talking about a two-years-down-the-road depth chart which reveals depth concerns.

At the end of that post, I put together a list of positions where depth was a concern in 2021 (and beyond) which should be addressed with the 2020 class. Let's look at that list compared to the high school recruits and long-term transfers added since. (I'm leaving the two jucos out of this - they were added for immediate needs and not long-term needs).

My list from that post:

Offensive Line
Wide Receiver
Defensive End
Defensive End
Defensive Tackle
Linebacker, hopefully MLB

After that we added four more high school recruits who signed in December, a high school (prep school, actually) recruit in February, and now two sit-out transfers in Brian Hightower and Brevyn Jones. Let's fill in my chart with those players:

Offensive Line - Brevyn Jones
Wide Receiver - Brian Hightower
Defensive End - Cooper Davis
Defensive End - Jerzahn Newton
Defensive Tackle - Tre'Von Riggins
Linebacker - none
Cornerback - Tahveon Nicholson
Safety - none
Safety - none

We also added QB Deuce Spann (who replaced the 2020 QB who was committed at the time I made that depth chart, CJ Dixon).

Where are the holes, then? Linebacker and safety. For 2021, as of today, after Hansen and Eifler graduate, we have four scholarship linebackers: Lavar Gardner, Khalan Tolson, Shammond Cooper, and Tarique Barnes. By the time the first game rolls around in 2021, we'll need at least eight. So... expect a run on juco and transfer linebackers next year.

Safety is even worse. On that depth chart I made last week I showed six safeties and all were juniors this fall: Sydney Brown, Jartavius Martin, Miami transfer Derrick Smith, Kerby Joseph, Delano Ware, and James Knight (who redshirted with a knee injury last year). It's possible that Knight and Ware move up to linebacker to fill those gaps but that makes the safety situation even more dire. I'm guessing that the staff has to see cornerbacks like Dylan Wyatt (played in 2018, redshirted with an injury in 2019), Joseph Thompson (redshirted his first year in 2019), and perhaps Tahveon Nicholson (2020 recruit) as safeties. They basically have to. After Adams and Hobbs graduate, it feels a near-certainty that Devon Witherspoon and Marques Beason have a stranglehold on cornerback for several years, so the rest of those defensive backs have to be tried at safety.

That's all for another post. I don't know how I'm this far down the rabbit hole when this is supposed to be a Brevyn Jones post. The whole point of listing this: in November I did the 2021 depth chart and decided "we still need another OL for the long term". We now know his name.

I saw someone say on Twitter that Jones might pursue an immediately-eligible waiver, but I highly doubt that. The top six offensive linemen this fall: five seniors and a 4th-year junior. I sincerely doubt that Jones would break through and play more than four games this fall. So a waiver pursuit might end up like Chase Brown. Brown got a waiver last fall... and then only played in four games and redshirted anyway.

In that sense, it's easy to get lost in the whole waiver thing. Oh man, here comes another tangent.

Players get five years to play four. That's really the only rule that matters. There's the chance that you get a sixth year if you missed two years due to injury, but it has to be two seasons lost to injury. You can't redshirt as a freshman, play as a sophomore, miss your next year due to injury, and then play your junior and senior years and ask for a sixth year. That freshman year had to be missed by injury, not by "didn't play, redshirted".

When the "play four games and retain a redshirt" rule went into effect in 2018, there were about 100 bad articles written about it. A lot of "get used to players stopping after four games so that the season doesn't count and they can transfer and play somewhere else without losing a year of eligibility" articles. But that only applies to graduate transfers. Sit-out transfers save nothing by stopping after four games. An example:

Blocky McJones is a freshman offensive lineman at Kent State. He starts from the very first game of his freshman year and he's awesome. Coaches around the midwest realize what they missed on. He realizes this, so after four games, he shuts it down so he can redshirt and then transfer. He transfers to Purdue and has to sit out a year due to the transfer rule. When he finally plays his third season, his clock only has three years left. You don't get two redshirt years. He could have played his entire year at Kent State and still transferred and would have had the same eligibility. Once your clock starts, you have five years to play four seasons. For Blocky, whether he's a redshirt freshman during his sit-out year or whether he's a true sophomore, it doesn't matter. Once he's eligible, he'll have three years to play.

Now, for graduate transfers, it matters. D'Eriq King was playing his fourth season at Houston last year. He shut it down after four games so that his clock would not expire, transferred to Miami as an immediately-eligible grad transfer, and will now play a fifth year (and, basically, a second senior season) at Miami. But he could only do that because he was a fourth-year senior with one more year on his clock and the ability to grad-transfer. If the transfer rule changes (meaning you can transfer one time without having to sit out) then yes - we're going to see a lot of four game shutdowns. But for now, only grad transfers benefit from that.

What does this mean for Jones? Well, to me, he can apply for a waiver but it's not really going to matter. It would only matter if he's needed next season, which he won't be. He arrives as a second-year player (clock started in 2019), he could be a waiver-eligible sophomore or a forced-to-sit sophomore, and he plays in four games or less (likely zero). He enters the 2021 season with three years left on his clock, so he can play a sophomore, junior, and senior season.

If he was a hotshot running back who might be in the running for carries next season with Corbin and Brown gone then yes, a waiver would matter. He'd be needed out there immediately this fall. Say that hotshot running back (2019 recruit, transferring to Illinois in 2020) got the waiver. Then they would play in 2020, 2021, and 2022 and their "4" would run out, not their "5". Play four seasons and your "play 4" runs out (just like Tymir Oliver or Stanley Green this past season) before your "5 years". Sit for four years and finally play the fifth year (like, say Chris Boles a few years ago) and your "5 years" runs out even though you've only been on the field for one.

None of that will happen with Jones unless he's some superstar who takes Palcho's spot or something (highly, highly doubtful). He's a guy whose Year Two will expire next fall and he'll have three years to play football at Illinois (in 2021, 2022, and 2023). Waiver schmaiver.

I guess I'm kind of tipping my hand here. In all of that mess above I've basically told you "this is not a recruit who will supplant any of the starters or backups next season", meaning he's not getting many Cruises. If this was a 4.5 Cruise recruit, I might say "I hope he gets that waiver because he can push Jeresaty for snaps THIS SEASON". I see him as more of a project recruit, which means I'm tossing him in the "let's see him fight for one of the starting spots coming open in 2021" pile.

And as I said about 1,000 words ago, this was a recruit who was needed. When I made that 2021 depth chart in November, I was basically saying "man, we could really use another offensive lineman who won't be a 2021 true freshman". We've now landed someone from the 2019 class who will be entering their third season when fighting for one of those 2021 spots. That's not nothing. That eases some of my "2021 cliff" fears.

I'm going to pretend like Kendrick Green does not declare for the draft next winter until it happens so here are the players in the mix for those 2021 OL spots:

rs-SR Kendrick Green
rs-JR Verdis Brown
rs-JR Jordyn Slaughter
rs-JR Julian Pearl
rs-SO Brevyn Jones
rs-SO Evan Kirts
rs-SO Josh Plohr

There will also be redshirt freshmen (like Kevin Tyler) and true freshmen (we don't know their names yet, but I hope one of them is Olin Kreutz' son at center) in that battle, but they'll be young. That's a list of the third, fourth, and fifth-year scholarship linemen battling for spots. (Plus transfers - there will probably always be transfers.)

I went digging pretty far for film on Jones. I watched his junior film, which was, uh, not as impressive as typical offensive lineman film. But I know that he was a Tulane recruit after that junior film but flipped to Mississippi State after senior film, so I went digging for that senior film. I found some - individual games on his Hudl account - and it, uh, was not as impressive as typical offensive lineman film. Not sure what Mississippi State saw.

He certainly has the frame of a college offensive lineman. Long arms, big hands, broad shoulders. I can absolutely see how Joe Moorhead said "we can turn this kid into an SEC lineman". But in my book, he's a project. A little bit above the Kirts/Plohr "project", but below the Slaughter/Tyler kind of recruit (and well below a Kendrick Green or Verdis Brown kind of recruit).

I gave Kirts and Plohr both 1.5 Cruises, so I'll increase that a little bit. But not by much. I hope the project gets an A, but right now, this project gets 2 Cruises.

Brevyn Jones - Two Tom Cruises


uofi08 on May 04 @ 11:04 AM CDT

The hardest position to project from high school to college is offensive line. So with that in mind, I pretty much never question an OL recruit. So much development is required for OL, so basically every non-5 star is a project.

This commitment seems a little weird to me in that it’s a transfer after 1 redshirt year. There’s no college tape. And it appears Illinois had no interest in this kid just a year ago as a high schooler. Hard to see what the staff sees, but if he has decent tools it’s fine. Not really something to get excited about but if no high schoolers are biting, I guess it’s ok.

IBFan on May 04 @ 03:20 PM CDT

Yeah I thought the staff should show interest in every OL in the country that went to a power5 school, regardless. And if they hadn’t that person should forever be overlooked. And if they did take someone they hadn’t taken the year before then either it was a huge mistake then or is a huge mistake now. Do you even think before you troll? Did you think of last years high school OL recruits? Kevin Tyler, heard of him?
Have you ever looked at the high schoolers that are on the visit list for this year? Kind of a problem right now but I’m sure the staff isn’t doing enough and hasn’t done enough in combatting Covid. If you are a high schooler, and you are an OL, have accepted an invite and plan to visit, and...wait no one is biting. Please at least know what’s going on before you drivel.

uofi08 on May 04 @ 08:45 PM CDT

“Please at least know what’s going on before you drivel.”

Please follow your own advice and also actually read the post before responding.

I understand you can’t recruit every possible recruit. That’s why this is somewhat of a weird recruitment to me: 1. The staff doesn’t appear to have any familiarity or recruiting history with him. 2. He’s only a redshirt freshman so he has no college tape to review. 3. His offer list out of high school was actually pretty poor, no P5 besides Miss State. 4. He’s not a former 4/5 star from a blue blood that just couldn’t find playing time.

I stand by everything I wrote above. This is a developmental guy and a bit of a gamble but with OL prospects, these guys can very easily become future starters. I agree with Roberts 2 Cruise ranking.

As far as recruiting. Yes I’ve heard of Kevin Tyler and really liked landing him. We also missed on a bunch of other OL recruits. As for this year, just take a step out of the Lovie bubble and look at how other teams are doing on the recruiting trail. There is good reason for some concern.

W.I.N.T. on May 04 @ 12:48 PM CDT

If there was ever a real player named Blocky McJones I would immediately buy his jersey.

Chukwuwumba on May 06 @ 05:56 PM CDT

New head coach in Leach, new OL coach guessing that is reason for transfer. Apparently they have a good oline coach so?? Was 260# in HS, now 280# according to MSU roster. Do put on weight already.

Read this on message board:

I saw in one of the articles that JoMo wanted him for his quick feet and athleticism at the tackle position. Something we desperately needed to defend the speed rush vs Kentucky. It’s hard to coach up a guy who has cinderblocks for feet. It’s easy to pack on 30 pounds of good weight. I think we’re gonna start seeing more athletic leaner type tackles in the future instead of the big giant road graders like we have in the past. Hopefully this guy develops into what we/JoMo needs.

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