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Illinois Football: 3 players they miss from 2022-23



Illinois Football: 3 players they miss from 2022-23
Illinois Fighting Illini linebacker Dylan Rosiek (28), Illinois Fighting Illini defensive lineman Bryce Barnes (48) and Illinois Fighting Illini linebacker Ryan Meed (34) pray ahead of the NCAA football game against the Purdue Boilermakers, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023, at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind. Purdue Boilermakers won 44-19.

Illinois Football: 3 players they miss from 2022-23

Illinois Football is clearly in a tough spot. To be quite honest, they are one fourth down prayer away from being 1-4. On top of that, they were down a good margin during their one other win against FAU, who was without their starting QB. Whatever or whoever you want to blame, the main issue stems from personnel. Simply put, Illinois Football is not talented enough to overcome the amount of penalties and miscues they have had. Additionally, they are relying on some young, inexperienced pieces who simply have shown that they are not ready. Also, returning seniors, who were presumed to be a strength, have taken steps back.

The team misses the three defensive backs who were drafted and also miss Tommy Devito and Chase Brown. However, there are a few players that I think Illinois really misses right now that fans did not realize would leave such a large hole.

Calvin Avery

Calvin Avery was one of Lovie Smith’s biggest recruiting wins. Avery surprised the world when he committed to Illinois over big time offers like TCU, Arkansas and more. Avery started off his career very slowly. The big man struggled with weight, conditioning and overall motor. However, in his fifth and final season, Calvin Avery really came into his own. He was certainly overshadowed by the Law Firm, who wreaked havoc all year. However, it may seem that the “Law Firm” might owe some of their revenue to Calvin Avery.

Calvin Avery was consistently overpowering his man at the point of attack and allowed Newton, Randolph and the OLB’s to wreak their havoc. Avery also held down the run defense extremely well. His loss is compounded by the fact that Illinois simply is not talented at this spot. Denzel Daxon is playing his first high-major snap ever, and they currently rely on a former Walk-on for backup help.

Isaac Darkangelo

Darkangelo was a former walk-on that turned into an absolute star at the linebacker position. In fact, Darkangelo is one of the few Illini currently on an NFL roster. Darkangelo was all over the field and had 71 total tackles last year. Week after week, teams take advantage of this current linebacker crew. Dylan Rosiek has held his own, however Kennena Odeluga has not shown he is an every down linebacker. Additionally, team Captain, Tarique Barnes has had a very poor start to the year and is honestly hurting the team more than he helps.

The OL Alex’s: Alex Palczewski and Alex Pihlstrom

The offensive line on this team has struggled more than any other unit. That says a lot. Illinois sold their line as the strength of the team, however it is quite literally their biggest weakness right now. They returned three linemen who performed well last year. One of those three has severely struggled. Isaiah Adams has been put in many different positions and has also struggled as a result. Additionally, the two new linemen have struggled heavily as well. Josh Kreutz battles, however he simply is overpowered.

Josh Gesky was hyped up by this coaching staff, however the tweet below kind of sums up his performance.

Overall, they miss the stability of Palczewski and Pihlstrom. Palczewski is currently on the Denver Broncos and Pihlstrom just did his job.

Illinois is in some hot water right now. However, these three losses from last year’s roster is extremely apparent.

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Alex is the Owner of, your go-to source for in depth coverage of the Illinois Fighting Illini. Alex is also the lead content creator and lead editor of all articles on Armchair Illini. He has had articles featured in top media publications like Bleacher Report, YardBarker, Verbal Commits, CBS Sports and more.