The 90 Illini #27: Josh Gesky

Aug 26, 2023

I'm just writing nonstop at this point, even though it seems like starts and stops to you. I'll write a bunch of 90 Illini articles and then I'll write some sections of the preview and then back to the 90 Illini articles. The last 48 hours I've been writing the preview, and now I'm switching back to some 90 Illini articles.

I mean, I haven't been writing for 48 hours. I slept. I ate. I watered the flower pots which seemed to be baking the flowers contained therein. But when I was writing at my laptop, I was writing preview articles.

Tonight, 90 Illini. Starting with...

27. Josh Gesky

Offensive Lineman
Uniform number: 72
Year in school: Redshirt Sophomore (3 years to play 3)
Height: 6'-5" -- Weight: 325 lbs.
Hometown: Manteno, Illinois
High School: Manteno HS
Five best offers: Syracuse, Kansas, Arkansas State, Eastern Michigan, Florida International
Previous 90i rankings: NR (2021), #68 (2022)
Tom Cruise rating:

2022 statistics: Played in 12 games, mostly on special teams.


I mentioned this with another guy from the 2021 class but there were several true freshman that year who didn't make the 90 Illini list. The NCAA allowed 2021 rosters to be expanded beyond the limit of 85 (because of Covid waivers), and so we expanded our roster well into the 90's. Which meant that some scholarship players weren't going to make The 90 Illini. Gesky was one of those players, mostly because he was 265 lbs in high school. He was going to need to spend at least two years lifting and eating.

He's now spent two years lifting and eating. He's no longer 265 - he's 325 lbs. He added the Freshman 15 and the Sophomore 45 (haven't we all?). I always say "lift, eat, and we'll see where we are in 24 months" when talking about freshmen offensive linemen. Well, he just completed those 24 months and now he's ready for snaps on the field.

2023 Outlook

In the first two years of Bart Miller as the offensive line coach, we were a six lineman team. In 2021, Jack Badovinac and Alex Pihlstrom split time as the 5th guy/6th guy. Last year, Jordyn Slaughter and Zy Crisler split time. And this year, I think Gesky and Slaughter will do the same. Which is why I have Gesky at #27 and Slaughter at... well, you'll find out soon.

The left side of the line is set (Julian Pearl and Isaiah Adams). Josh Kreutz seems set at center. And then the right side seems to be some combination of three guys (Zy Crisler, Jordyn Slaughter, and Josh Gesky). Crisler and Gesky can play both tackle and guard and Jordyn Slaughter can play both guard and center. So if it's going to be anything like the last two seasons, look for several lineups to be used in September before finally settling on a starting OL in October.


Chukwuwumba on August 26, 2023 @ 10:51 AM

Will be interesting to see how the oline shakes out. In previous years, there also seemed to be less depth. This year, seems like there is more capable depth. I could see it taking a few games to settle on best lineup combination/ rotation. Wonder if there will be a left side 6th man, and a right side 6th man. Doubt adams rotates to tackle if Pearl takes a breather but idk. Less snaps for the left side rotational piece, hopefully; might be foreshadowing what will happen next year. Center might be more difficult to rotate, but what do I know.

Chukwuwumba on August 26, 2023 @ 10:56 AM

Appears to be a really positive development that Gesky is in the rotation. Less heralded recruit, appears to be moving into rotation due to merit, not because the others are not capable.

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