The 90 Illini #69: Sean Coghlan
OK, so now my bench is empty. I had two walkons right there on the bench so that if any players left after I started the countdown, I could just plug them in. Walkon Jordan Holmes left the team, and he was going to be on this list (he was also going to be our starting punt returner if he was 100% healed from the knee injury in the Michigan State game), and so I replaced Holmes with Alec McEachern and bumped everyone up a spot. Now Joseph Thompson has announced he's transferring (injured his senior HS season and injured during his redshirt season so we never saw him play football), so there's another open spot. Thompson was going to be #67 on this list, so I moved a few guys up and now have an open spot here. The other guy still on my bench: walkon Sean Coghlan.
If anyone else leaves before the season (which seems sillier to say by the day, which means this "countdown" gets sillier by the day), I'm going to have to dig deep into the walkons to find a guy who might play. But I guess that wouldn't be that crazy of a proposition - six of the 10 coverage guys on kickoffs were walkons last year. Including...
69. Sean Coghlan
Uniform number: 51
Year in school: Redshirt junior walkon (2 years to play 2)
Height: 6'-0" -- Weight: 220 lbs.
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
High School: St. Rita HS
Five best offers: N/A - walkon
Tom Cruise rating: N/A - walkon
2019 statistics: Played in 12 games making 5 tackles on special teams.
I just went through this for McEachern, but it's worth noting again. There's one play remaining in the Michigan State game. But it's a bit scary because Daniel Barker took his helmet off celebrating the winning touchdown and that cost us 15 yards on the kickoff. Which means we're kicking off from the 20 and we can't squib. One tackle, kickoff coverage team. That's all we need.
That kickoff coverage team?
Ryan Meed (walkon)
Alec McEachern (walkon)
Sean Coghlan (walkon)
Michael Marchese (walkon)
Nolan Bernat (walkon)
Christian Bobak (walkon)
(Witherspoon tripped up the returner, Bobak and Barnes made sure he went down, and Illinois was off to a bowl game.)
So that's where we start on "background" here. Coghlan walked on at Illinois in Lovie's first class, redshirted, played in four games as a redshirt freshman, and then was on the coverage units last season.
Oh, and he also had a pick six in the spring game in 2019. That's him headed for the endzone in the photo above.
I should just cut-and-paste what I wrote for McEachern. This section will basically say the same thing. Step one, get on the field for a few special teams things as a second-year player (redshirt freshman). Step two, grab a starting spot on one of the coverage teams as a redshirt sophomore. Next step: try to break into the lineup at one of the linebacker spots.
In fact, I think I will cut and paste part of the McEachern 90i post. What I think the two-deep will look like if there's a season:
WLB: Khalan Tolson (JR) / Shammond Cooper (rFR)
MLB: Jake Hansen (SR) / Tyrique Barnes (SO)
SLB: Milo Eifler (SR) / Dawson DeGroot (SR)
I think McEachern is fighting for snaps at SLB. I'll guess that Coghlan is pushing for snaps at MLB. Both will likely be on the coverage teams. Now we see if they can get on the field for linebacker snaps.
IF there's a season.