The 90 Illini #65: Jordyn Slaughter
This is one of those players who will be #65 on this list and then jump all the way to 17th next season. This year, four seniors and a redshirt junior will soak up nearly every snap on the offensive line. Next year, one starter returning and four wide open spots. Slaughter could go from "plays 3% of the snaps on the season, mostly on field goals and extra points" this season to "plays 97% of all available snaps on the season" next season.
65. Jordyn Slaughter
Uniform number: 66
Year in school: Redshirt Sophomore (3 years to play 3)
Height: 6'-5" -- Weight: 300 lbs.
Hometown: Belleville, Illinois
High School: Althoff Catholic HS
Five best offers: Bowling Green, Toledo, South Dakota, Western Illinois, Southern Illinois
Tom Cruise rating: 2.5 Cruises
2019 statistics: Played in the Akron game, the only game he played as a redshirt freshman.
As I recall, Jordyn Slaughter was a camp offer. The staff saw him at a camp in June of 2017, like him, offered, and he committed. Up until that camp he just had the two MAC offers and a bunch of FCS offers, but the in-state FBS school offered and he quickly accepted.
His freshman training camp I remember him being limited and wearing a shoulder brace (I believe he had offseason shoulder surgery), so he was a 100% lock to redshirt and fully rehab the shoulder (it's not like there were spots open on the line anyway). I believe last summer was the first time I saw him fully cleared to practice, and as I recall he bounced around between guard and tackle (perhaps playing left tackle the last few times I saw him?). Sometimes that's just "only 11 guys available at practice today - Slaughter you switch over to left tackle".
It's interesting the difference between the 2017 OL class and the 2018 OL class. In 2017, four freshmen (including Larry Boyd) started most of the season. In 2018 (and 2019), every lineman redshirted. At this point in his career, Alex Palczewski had 22 starts while Jordyn Slaughter is just entering his redshirt sophomore season with one game played. From "we need to to start even though you just turned 18 a few weeks ago" with Palcho to "we need you to redshirt and sit the bench for three years - you'll get your shot your redshirt junior season" with Slaughter.
I should just write this here and then save it because I'll say the same thing for Verdis Brown and Julian Pearl. "One more year as a backup and then two years as a starter".
That's the plan, anyway. Who knows what the 2021 line looks like (does Kendrick Green return for his redshirt senior season? will there be more transfers?), but for now, I'd say the plan is to take these three redshirt sophomore (Brown, Pearl, and Slaughter) and start them alongside the one returning player (Green) and then add in a fifth guy (transfer? one of the 2019 guys like Kirts or Plohr? a 2020 guy like Tyler or Sparks? Jones the Mississippi State transfer? a freshman like Wisecarver is ready early?).
As to where Slaughter lands, I think we'll learn a lot this season. I've always thought of him as a right tackle (Palcho's replacement), but remember that in 2017 Palcho was at left guard and Vederian Lowe was at right tackle. So maybe that's the stairway for Slaughter. Possibly left guard, more likely a right tackle, but if his footwork is there, maybe even left tackle.