The 90 Illini #63: Brevyn Jones
I mean, at this point I've just thrown up my hands. Three more players have left the program (Ricky Smalling, Jake Cerny, and Ra'Von Bonner), and all three had yet to appear on my countdown. So now, not only am I counting down to a season that probably won't happen, I've already used the walkons I was saving in case players left the program this summer (which they did - Jordan Holmes and Joseph Thompson left while Christian Bell never arrived). So here we are at #63 with three new holes between 63 and 1. (Those holes, by the way, were all low numbers: Smalling was going to be #12, Cerny 29, Bonner 33.)
So now, to do a full countdown of 90 players, I'll have to get creative once again. My plan: I wasn't going to use Brevyn Jones (a sit-out transfer from Mississippi State), but I need people for this list so I'll put Jones here at #63. I'll then run with the regular list for a while (with those two holes still there) while I monitor the possibility of more late-summer grad transfers (to fill the holes left by Cerny and Bonner). I still have Khmari Thompson (another sit-out transfer who could conceivably get a waiver) sitting there, so if I need to, I'll add him to the list somewhere. And then, if I still have one more open spot, some walkon is going to end up ranked in the 20's or something.
(And all of this counting down to a season on the brink of cancellation. "I should move to Champaign and write about the Illini full time!" Good call, Robert.)
63. Brevyn Jones
Uniform number: unknown
Year in school: Second-year player (4 years to play 3)
Height: 6'-4" -- Weight: 280 lbs.
Hometown: Center Point, Alabama
High School: Huffman HS
Former team: Transfer from Mississippi State
Five best offers upon transferring: Florida State, Maryland, Oregon, Georgia Tech, and Missouri according to this article before he picked Illinois.
Tom Cruise rating: 2 Cruises
2019 statistics: Did not play at Mississippi State (redshirted as a true freshman).
Jones was originally committed to Tulane, but after a solid senior HS season, Mississippi State offered so he flipped from Tulane to MSU. His high school season ended on 10/26, Mississippi State offered on 10/30, he decommitted from Tulane and committed to Mississippi State on 10/31.
Then, after one season there as a redshirt freshman, his coach (Joe Moorhead) was fired and was replaced by Mike Leach. A few days after Leach tweeted a photo of a woman knitting a noose, several players, including Jones, put their name in the transfer portal. (The article linked above states that Jones was already considering leaving MSU because the coach who had recruited him had been fired, so I guess we don't know how much the noose tweet played into that decision.)
I just wrote about this when he committed a few months ago, so I'll go do a quick cut-and-paste from his LLUOI post because why type it all out again?
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.
His outlook for 2020? An almost certain redshirt whether he gets a waiver or not (even applying seems a bit pointless to me given that four seniors and a junior will be starting and taking up all the snaps). He sits out the season and then his clock still has 3 years left. He can fight for a starting spot at training camp in 2021 and then, if he wins it, he can hold that spot for the 2021, 2022, and 2023 seasons.
What spot? Being listed at 6'-4" usually doesn't mean tackle (it also usually means you're 6'-2.5"). So I'll guess he ends up at guard or center. When camp opens we'll get our first glimpse at where the coaching staff sees him contributing in the future.
(IF camp opens.)