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Does Illinois Football already have its Center?



Does Illinois Football already have its Center?
May 16, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; University of Illinois offensive lineman Josh Kreutz throws out a ceremonial first pitch before the game between the Chicago White Sox and the Cleveland Guardians at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Does Illinois Football already have its Center?

Illinois Football has been actively recruiting Offensive Lineman this offseason. This is Bret Bielema’s identity. Build the trenches and run the ball with power. Though, Illinois Football returns two stars on their offensive line, they are always looking for depth. They have options outside of Pearl and Adams, however they seem to be most concerned about their starting Center. They had Avery Jones decommit, and they recently were after Amaury Wiggins who just recently committed to Arkansas.

After steady play from Doug Kramer and Alex Pihlstrom the past few years, Illinois seems to have to pass the torch to a young face.

Josh Kreutz is ready

Josh Kreutz has an impressive bloodline. Olin Kreutz was an all-pro center for very successful Bears teams. Josh’s young brother, James, is also an impressive LB who should be primed for starting reps sooner rather than later. Josh was a part of Lovie Smith’s final recruiting class at Illinois and has received praise from Bret Bielema every offseason. He chose Illinois over offers from Ball State, Memphis and Northern Illinois.

Per Allen Trieu’s assessment, Kreutz is undersized but a “tough, scrappy player”. Kreutz is 6 foot 2, and not the longest prospect. Sound familiar? The same sentiments were said about Doug Kramer Jr. Doug Kramer was a multi-year starter for Illinois who had high football IQ and toughness. Despite his size, Kramer Jr held the fort down and is now on the Chicago Bears roster. Kreutz will need to adjust to starter’s reps, however has a strong template to follow.

The need for depth

Despite Kreutz’s presence, Illinois needs depth. In their two deep, they are extremely young and would have to rely on some very raw talents. Injuries are bound to happen on the offensive line and should avoid the possibility of having to rely on younger players to carry such a heavy burden. Illinois is adding Dez’mond Schuster to their OL from the JUCO ranks, however I am sure Bret Bielema is still hunting for some experience.


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.