Ryan Lankford, Steve Hull, Miles Osei, and Spencer Harris will all be moving on at the completion of this season, and their exit will leave quite a large production void to fill next season.
In the class of 2014, the Illinois Fighting Illini have received commitments from four wide receivers who will attempt to step in and fill the aforementioned void left by the departing senior class.
With the 2nd bye week at hand for the Illini, the time felt right to check in on how these four potential future playmakers respective high school, or junior college, seasons are going thus far.
Mike Dudek: 5’11”, 163 pound Neuqua Valley HS
Dynamite comes in small packages, and this diminutive WR has been exploding all season long for Neuqua Valley.
So far this season, Dudek has been racking up the All-Purpose yardage while posting a total of 1,440 yards through 6 games. He has carried the ball 20 times for 172 yards and 2 TDs, and he has returned 14 kickoffs for 509 yards and 1 TD, but his bread and butter is his ability as a wide out. He’s caught 34 passes for 759 yards and 11 TDs.
With his size, I’m guessing he’ll play slot receiver for Illinois, and that should find him free in space more often than not which looks like it will be a great thing for the Illini for years to come.
Malik Turner: 6’1”, 195 Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin HS
When Wes Lunt came aboard one of the first things he mentioned when interviewed was that one of the first calls he would be making would be to Malik Turner because success at Illinois will “take a lot more than just 1 person.” Many Illini fans probably wondered why Lunt would speak so glowingly about the 2 star rated prospect out of Springfield SHG, but it seems Lunt was on to something.
Need evidence? Look no further than his most recent game when Turner caught 11 passes for 143 yards and 3 TD in SHG’s 49-27 drubbing of previously unbeaten Memphis (TN) Whitehaven.
Through 6 games, Turner has caught 39 passes for 872 yards and 12 TD while helping the Cyclones to a 5-1 overall record and #4 State Ranking in Class 5A.
With every game that Turner plays, it looks more and more like the Illini found themselves a potential gem that was well below the perennial powerhouse schools collective radar.
Tyrin Stone-Davis: 6’3”, 190 (JC) Pierce College
Stone-Davis has the chance to be the one WR in this group to make the most immediate impact next season for Illinois. According to an article by Matt Daniels back in early August, Stone-Davis runs a 4.3 40-yard dash. With that type of breakaway speed he should have little trouble getting separation in his routes, and in Bill Cubit’s system he might find himself catching a slew of deep balls before his career at Illinois ends. Speed isn’t the only thing he brings to the table though. His advertised size should play well in the Big Ten as well.
With Illinois beating out offers from San Diego St. and Texas Tech, as well as reported interest from Oregon, West Virginia, and others, this commitment was a big one for the Class of 2014.
If you want to see what Stone-Davis looks like on tape, check out this link.
Geronimo Allison: 6’3”, 180 (JC) Iowa Western Community College
Allison is following the same path that current Illini WR Martize Barr took, as the two were teammates at IWCC a year ago. Barr has shown the ability to adapt to the Big Ten game and Allison should have no problem doing so himself.
At 6’3″, Allison will offer another big target next year for either Lunt, or Aaron Bailey, to throw to on passing downs.
Through 7 games for IWCC, Allison has caught 36 passes for 542 yards and 5 TD, and during those 7 games he has 3 games in which he eclipsed 100 yards receiving.
If Allison can bring production like that to the Illini next fall, the void left by the departing senior class suddenly won’t look so large.
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