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Illinois Football Reshapes Offensive Line



Illinois Football Reshapes Offensive Line

Illinois Football Reshapes Offensive Line

Illinois football started its 2023 offseason with one mission: To beef up their offensive and defensive line. Over the entire season, it became incredibly clear that Illinois Football needed help in the trenches for multiple reasons. On the Offensive side, Illinois Football’s offensive line was remarkably disappointing. They struggled to start the year and that really cost the team. Additionally, they lost their two best players on the line, Julian Pearl and Isaiah Adams. There was no one in their two-deep that seemed ready to play, hence it was absolutely important to retool.

The same can be said on the defensive line. Illinois will lose their star defensive linemen, Jer’Zhan Newton and Keith Randolph. Besides that, they really do not have depth behind the two players who are already leaving. Illinois made some noise on National Signing Day. They retooled in their prep recruiting class, however, have also made some key additions via the transfer portal

Prep Recruiting

  1. Andrew Dennis
  2. Zafir Stewart
  3. Brandon Hansen

In prep recruiting, there is an expected development process. In quality college football programs, prep prospects can develop and grow into their frames for at least 2 years before being asked to heavily contribute. If that is the case, Andrew Dennis and Zafir Stewart were recruited by the likes of Penn State and many other Big Ten programs. Both players have the pedigree to contribute at a high level once they are ready to see the field. Brandon Hansen may not have had the most colorful 247 profile, however, he was the first commit in the class of 2024. He supposedly received interest from teams playing in the CFP. Hansen’s film is filled with pancakes and mauling highlights.

Transfer Portal

This is the most important part of Illinois recruiting for the current state of the team. Illinois needs to win now. They have a very small window to success and that window is closing after a disappointing 2023 season. In past seasons, Bret Bielema has undervalued the transfer portal and might have overestimated his early evaluations. In this class of 2024, Bielema and his staff landed

  1. Kevin Wigenton
  2. JC Davis

Kevin Wigenton started games for Michigan State. He has two years of eligibility and received interest from many other high-major programs. JC Davis is an all-Mountain West selection. He will have one year of eligibility and chose Illinois over UCLA, USC, BYU and Penn State. The fact that Illinois beat out quality programs for all the above players should give fans some solace that these players will likely have an impact on the field.

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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.