Looks Like University Of Illinois - Max Rosenthal

Jan 26, 2021

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This LLUOI post will be a little different. A big part of the post won't be the written word, it will be audio. I talked to Max Rosenthal last night and we had a nice chat about our last name, whether we're related (we're not), and whether it will freak him out when he sees me at an Illini game wearing his jersey some day.

(I won't. Probably not. I'll try not to.)

So let's start with that. I'll just embed the audio right here. It's about 13.5 minutes long. If you want to skip all of the talk about the fact that we share the same last name, skip to the 2:20 mark and stop at 10:30. The first two and a half minutes and the last three minutes are just Rosenthal talk. The middle section covers football.

Start with this, and then we'll talk about what his transfer means.

Love that he says "opportunity of a lifetime" there. Fans like me always have these daydreams about being talented enough to play college football and then actually having the opportunity to play for Illinois. In my daydream, I'm offered by Ohio State and Michigan but I commit to Illinois. So to have a guy say "it's the opportunity of a lifetime" to play for the school where his family went (and the school he grew up cheering for) - and to have his last name be the same as mine - well, I'm going to have to be careful not to blend my daydream with the life he actually gets to live.

And since this is apparently the audio/video LLUOI post, here's at least one highlight of Rosenthal from WCIA last week:

So think of him in the vein of Nathan Echard, Tim Clary, and maybe even Jay Prosch. Blocking fullback, sometimes lined up at tight end, there to hit people and catch the occasional pass in the flat. I don't think this is a Ron Turner situation - he recruited big running backs (Jameel Cook, Carey Davis, Jason Davis), made them fullbacks, and tossed them the ball in the flat whenever he could. But if this offense is going to have a Russ Weil blowing open some holes, that guy wasn't on the roster (we haven't had fullbacks in a while), so this was big to go find the starter for the next two years.

Now, that's not full-time starter, I don't think. I think you might be able to count Daniel Barker and Luke Ford as "starters" next season and Rosenthal as the change-up option for certain packages. I don't think the Tony Petersen offense is going to come out for the first play in I-formation with a fullback who has his hand in the dirt (although, you know, that would be pretty cool). But I do think he wants to do some of the things that we saw from Echard and Clary over the years.

Actually, maybe the comp here is Eddie Viliunas. Arrived as a walkon quarterback. Moved to tight end/fullback. Was a big part of the blocking schemes in 2010 and 2011 opening holes for Leshoure and Ford. Max Rosenthal arrived at Michigan State as a walkon linebacker and now he'll finish his career as a scholarship fullback/tight end at Illinois. Yeah, Eddie Viliunas is the comp.

So where does that land Tom Cruise-wise? It's pretty big on the "needs" end. Not sure there was a guy like this on the entire roster (maybe walkon linebacker Alex McEachern?), and if we're going to use someone like that in the offense, we needed a transfer. On the talent end, no, this isn't some 5-star talent coming to Champaign. And that's fine - this is a spot we really needed to fill. Which means I'll end up right in the middle.

Max Rosenthal - Two and one-half Tom Cruises.


Brave Illini on January 26, 2021 @ 06:04 AM

He started as a linebacker at MSU. If we could Clone him, couldn't you see him as a 250 pound middle linebacker for the Illini? A run stuffer and enough speed for pass defense, especially those short passes over the middle that seemed to be our Achilles heel the last few years.

Groundhogday on January 26, 2021 @ 05:01 PM

Guys like Rosenthal don't have the speed and athleticism needed to play LB against modern spread offenses.

Brave Illini on January 26, 2021 @ 06:20 PM

I don't know. You put two speedier LBs on the outside to defend the spread. It has been frustrating that, as good as Hansen was, we've been vulnerable to runs up the gut once our line was penetrated. We need a big strong linebacker who can shed blocks. IMO.

Groundhogday on January 26, 2021 @ 03:25 PM

Alec McEachern was a high school DB who played some RB in high school, walked on as a LB. Russ Weil was a 2-way high school football player and wrestler who was recruited as a LB. Starting to see a pattern. Fullback/H-back is the role for old school LBs who lack the athleticism to defend against spread offenses.

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