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Illinois Football will Survive Loss of Standout Running Back



Illinois Football
Sep 4, 2021; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini running back Reggie Love III (23) runs through an opening as UTSA Roadrunners linebacker Charles Wiley (2) tries to make a stop during Saturday’s game at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois football loses Reggie Love to the portal.

Illinois football running back Reggie Love III tweeted this November 30th:

Love’s transfer became official today with the opening of the transfer portal. The Saint Louis native has joined the thousands of Division I, II, and III players nationwide, entering their names in the NCAA transfer portal. Love leaves Champaign with one year of eligibility left. The redshirt senior appeared in eight games, leading the Illini in rushing (567) yards and rushing touchdowns (4).

After dealing with injuries in the middle part of the season, Love returned to the lineup in the nick of time. Freshman running back Kaden Feagin emerged as Illinois football’s featured rusher until a shoulder injury against Indiana ended his season. Love rushed for over 100 yards in two of Illinois’ final three games.

Despite Love playing well down the stretch, his departure shouldn’t hurt the Illini too much in 2024.

Illinois Football has a deep running back room.

One of the strengths of the roster coming into 2023 was the deep running back room. True freshman Kaden Feagin emerged because of injuries. The Illini return many of those running backs, and the room will be as talented as it was this season, even without Love. Running back Jordan Anderson sustained a season-ending injury during summer camp and should be ready in time for spring. Josh McCray missed the season’s final seven games with a neck injury but should be prepared for spring if he returns.

Aidan Laughery missed three games and parts of others with various nagging injuries as well. Everyone returns in 2024, ready to compete for carries. In addition, three-star running back Ca’Lil Valentine arrives on campus next year from the high school ranks. Love came in and played well when needed, but even he saw the writing on the wall.

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Armchair Illini is a comprehensive site dedicated to covering University of Illinois Athletics owned and operated by Alex Kyi. Dante Pryor has been writing about College Football for years on Saturday Blitz and is now the Lead Football Author for Armchair Illini.