Illinois Football: Illini receive commitment from Tyler Strain

Another recruit was added to the Illinois football family on Friday afternoon.

Illinois has been looking to build its defensive backfield for a while. We are going to need to replace a few big pieces after the upcoming season. That means depth is going to take a hit. But landing someone like Tyler Strain should help solve the problem.

Strain is a 5-foot-10, 180-pound cornerback from Pace High School and resides in Milton, Florida. He isn’t rated or ranked by the primary recruiting sites, but it looks like the Illini were one of the first to see this kid’s true potential.

In addition to Illinois’ offer, Strain was being eyed by a variety of teams including South Florida, Tulane and South Alabama. But the Illini had what Strain was looking for so, on Friday, he announced his commitment to the University of Illinois.

This was a no-brainer when it comes to getting someone like Strain on the football field. He is completely under the radar as far as recruiting goes, but when you have an athlete like this kid, you can’t pass him up.

Strain is a track star for Pace. He competed this past season in various events and was one of the best. He took first place in the 4×100 at the Tri Meet in March of this year. He took home first place in the 200-meter at the 39th Annual Frank Lay Patriot Invitational in February. That month, he also took home first in the 200-meter and 4×100 at the Pace Mini Split A.

When you have a great athlete like Strain, all he needs is some great coaches like we have at Illinois. This seems like a match made in heaven. I am excited to see what this kid can do on the field.

Where will Strain fit in on the Illinois roster?

Well, when 2021 rolls around, Strain will most likely be redshirted. That gives him more time to learn the playbook and develop as a defensive back or wherever the coaching staff wants to use him. But, for now, we will count him as a cornerback.

Illinois is losing Quan Martin after the 2021 campaign, so he will need to be replaced. I see Joseph Thompson stepping up along with Devon Witherspoon to fill that void. The other cornerback spot will be Marquez Beason. But both Witherspoon and Thompson will be a senior and junior, respectively. That means we will need more depth in the near future.

Next: Grading the projected Illini lineup for 2020-21

I see Strain stepping up as a solid relief guy his first year playing in 2022. He would then be a primary backup in year two and potentially start in year three. This seems like a logical path for him. Don’t be surprised if Illinois does some other unique things with Strain’s athletic ability. This kid has a ton of potential.

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