The 90 Illini #82: Henry Boyer

Jun 6, 2022

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Just did some more auditing on the list. The reason: I usually have a walkon - maybe the backup kicker who, you never know, could win the job - down here in the 80's. But this list has been all true freshmen so far. It made me think that I had to be missing someone. Some of these true freshmen should be higher, or maybe some of the returning players buried on the depth chart should be lower.

But I don't think I'm missing anything? The roster weirdness of the last 18 months (new coaching staff, Covid meant no scholarship limit for 2021, a large purge in college football as every staff tried to get their rosters back to 85 scholarships, the transfer portal, the lifting of the single-class scholarship limit) means that the current roster is very... tidy. Between graduating seniors and transfers, 35-or-so players went out the door this offseason. A very large freshman class is coming in, but the vast majority of those freshmen are in line to redshirt.

There are five walkons on my list, but all of the walkons seem to be in line to at least help on special teams, so those walkons can't be ranked in the 70's or 80's. The spring offered a fairly clear picture of the starting lineups (spring of 2017, we knew 35% of the eventual starting lineup; spring 2022, we know.. 90% of the eventual starting lineup?), so the main questions when compiling a list like this are the second-string players (generally ranked 30 through 55 or so). Spots 60-90 will be filled by players being developed for the future, and the true freshmen mostly go on the lower end of that.

So yeah, I'm talking to myself here, but I feel like this run of true freshmen is correct. Let's get to the next one.

82. Henry Boyer

Tight End
Uniform number: not yet known
Year in school: True Freshman (5 years to play 4)
Height: 6'-7" -- Weight: 255 lbs.
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
High School: Brother Rice
Five best offers: Kent State the only other published offer
Tom Cruise rating:


I've been wrong about three or four players since Bielema took over. I said Josh McCray was too big to be a running back (he's a running back), I said Owen Carney was too big to be an outside linebacker (he played outside linebacker), I said Jordan Anderson would be a tight end (he's at running back), so take this with a grain of salt. I really think Boyer is eventually an offensive tackle.

I mean, he's already 6'-7" and 255 lbs. Seems like that's a guy who will be 305 lbs before we know it. Maybe that's the plan for our blocking tight ends now (basically offensive tackles who can run), but with his frame he'll eventually get to at least 280 lbs. and I just can't see a 280 lb. tight end. But maybe, since I've adapted to 255 lb running backs and 6'-5" defensive backs, I'll eventually accept a tight end playing at 280 lbs.

2022 Outlook

OK, so for this one maybe I won't say "lift and eat, lift and eat". Maybe the plan is for him to be at 240 lbs for his playing weight and the plan is for him to lift and... eat lean meats or something. Perhaps his redshirt year won't be to bulk up, it will be to trim down.

But that's just speculation on my part. Redshirt years are always about the weight room and they almost always result in the player adding 15-20 lbs from their high school weight. Even the wide receivers. So for a tight end (offensive tackle?), that's the likely result. This time next year, Henry Boyer, 6'-7", 270 lbs. Deciding between tackle and tight end.


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