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 /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
8 of 9
Next
Illinois Football
Nov 5, 2016; Champaign, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini quarterback Jeff George Jr. (3) hands off to running back Kendrick Foster (22) during the third quarter against the Michigan State Spartans at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports /

Running Back B

To start the 2016 season, Illinois had Ke’Shawn Vaughn slated as the starting running back for the football team.

This came to an end pretty quick as he was soon relegated to the third string and would see few snaps for the majority of the year.

Kendrick Foster took over as the starting running back and he did pretty well.  He returns for his senior season for the Illini.

Reggie Corbin will see plenty of snaps in 2017 as well.  He played in all 12 games and started two of them for Illinois last season.

Illinois also has Dre Brown back from a two-year injury bug and Tre Nation who received a few snaps in 2016.

Lovie also brought in two running backs from the class of 2017 that have me intrigued.

Ra’Von Bonner is a nice player who will see his fair share of playing time down the road.  I am guessing he will be redshirted this upcoming season.

Mike Epstein is a dual-threat running back who not only can run the ball but can catch it out of the backfield as well.

I am excited to see what Lovie is going to do with Epstein because he is so dynamic.

If you would have told me at the beginning of 2016 that Vaughn would transfer I would say that was going to hurt the team.

But, Lovie clearly didn’t have plans for Vaughn so his transfer isn’t a big impact.  Two additional running backs were brought in as well and now the depth is tremendous.