Illinois Football: Class of 2017 Position Grades for the Illini

Oct 1, 2016; Lincoln, NE, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Lovie Smith watches during the game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers Illinois Fighting Illini in the first quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2016; Lincoln, NE, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Lovie Smith watches during the game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers Illinois Fighting Illini in the first quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Sep 5, 2015; Champaign, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini tight end Tyler White (87) catches a touchdown pass at Memorial Stadium. Illinois beat Kent State 52-3. Mandatory Credit: Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 5, 2015; Champaign, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini tight end Tyler White (87) catches a touchdown pass at Memorial Stadium. Illinois beat Kent State 52-3. Mandatory Credit: Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports /

Tight End B+

Illinois lost three tight ends from last year’s team including the opening day starter, Tyler White.

White was the main tight end for the Illini and was finally healthy last year.  He played in all 12 games for Illinois and started in nine of those contests.

The other two tight ends that Illinois lost are Ainslie Johnson and Andrew Davis.  Both of these players saw limited snaps in 2016.

Honestly, the tight end position has been disappointing over the last five years.  There really hasn’t been a single player who has stood out for the Illini.

The projected starting tight end this upcoming season is Griffin Palmer.  He was a freshman last season and ended up getting redshirted.

So, as far as the tight end position goes, the competition is wide open.  Griffin hasn’t played and behind him are a bunch of question marks.

Lovie brought in a nice, big, tight end from the class of 2017, though.

Louis Dorsey is a 6-foot-6, 220-pound monster who is a great addition to this program.  He won’t come in until the summer but I think he has a chance to make an impact and even start early on.

Tight end hasn’t been a strength for the Illini over the last half decade, but with the addition of Dorsey that might be changing.

This position only consists of one player and I think Lovie did a good job in snagging Dorsey.