While the Illinois football offense line has been great the past couple of years, the Illini still have some holes they need to fill.
The offensive line has been one of the best things about this Illinois program in years past. Yes, spring practice is two-months away, but it is still never too early to talk about what the team will look like in 2020.
Illinois is returning four out of five starters on the offensive line next year. Alex Palczewski, Vederian Lowe, Kendrick Green and Doug Kramer will all be returning in 2020. The hole in this offensive line is at the right guard position with Richie Petitbon departing. The question remains; who will fill Petitbon’s spot?
Illinois does have a plethora of backups, but there isn’t a ton of experience. Verdis Brown is someone who could step up into a starting role or, at least, a main backup. Players like Jordyn Slaughter, Julian Pearl and others will duke it out during spring practice to see who is going to be one of the main backups as well.
Barring any injuries, though, the Orange and Blue should be looking good on the offensive line in 2020.
This is where things get scary for Illinois in the future. Palczewski, Lowe and Kramer will all be gone after next season. With them leaving, that will leave holes at the right tackle, left tackle and center positions.
Illinois has recruited well on the offensive line. They have three offensive linemen coming in from the class of 2020. Blaise Sparks, Kevin Tyler and Phifer Griffin are all coming in this summer.
These three freshmen who are coming into the program this year will provide great depth for the Illini in the future. Illinois also had Evan Kirts and Josh Plohr come in from the class of 2019.
The future is still uncertain for the Illini, though. We will still have Kendrick Green at guard for the Illini in 2021. I expect Brown to be a starter by then too. Those two I am comfortable with right now. But the rest is still a question mark. There will need to be some serious development in 2020 for these offensive linemen.
This Illinois football program has had a good offensive line in years past, but will it maintain in the future? We need to land a good class of 2021 that consists of a decent number of offensive line recruits. This would help stabilize the future of the offensive line.