The Illinois football team had five of its players earn the high honor of being named to the Reese’s Senior Bowl’s top-250. Did more Illini deserve this honor?
The Reese’s Senior Bowl, as described by their website, is the nation’s most prestigious college football all-star game. This is an annual all-star game dedicated to preparing senior NFL prospects for the NFL draft process. The Reese’s Senior Bowl, according to their site, has had 93 total players, 40 of them being selected within the first three rounds each of the past two years.
The organization releases an annual list of their top-250 senior football players in the nation. Five Fighting Illini were included in this year’s list.
The five Illini seniors named to the list are QB Brandon Peters, WR Josh Imatorbhebhe, CB Nate Hobbs, LB Milo Eifler, and OL Doug Kramer.
Players selected for this game get the opportunity to perform in front of many NFL coaches, scouts, and media, as over 900 credentialed NFL personnel attended the game site during last year’s game week.
That considered, this honor will certainly give each of the five selected Illinois seniors an elevated chance to play at the next level. One could argue, however, that more than only five Illini deserved to make the list.
Here are three Fighting Illini seniors who were snubbed from the list.
LB Jake Hansen
Hansen may be the biggest snub on this list. In 2019, the Illinois linebacker led the entire nation in forced fumbles (7) and forced fumbles per game (0.78).
The Illini standout has also received much preseason love in 2020. Hansen has earned the honors of being named to the Phil Steele Preseason All-Big Ten second team, the Athlon Preseason All-Big Ten third team, the Bednarik Award watch list, the Butkus Award watch list, and the Nagurski Award watch list his senior preseason.
OL Alec Palczewski
There is no question the senior offensive lineman deserved to be included in the Reese’s top-250. Palczewski’s numerous preseason awards prove that he is one of the nation’s most talented offensive linemen.
The senior lineman was named to the Phil Steele All-Big Ten third team and the Athlon Preseason All-Big Ten third team. Palczewski is also included on the Outland Trophy watch list, which is awarded to the nation’s best interior offensive lineman.
OL Vederian Lowe
Another Illini offensive lineman who was snubbed from the list is the 6-foot-6, 320-pound senior, Vederian Lowe. The left tackle started all 13 games last season in an offensive line that ranked No. 11 in the country in 2019. Protecting Peters’ blindside, Lowe is arguably the most crucial piece of the Big-Ten’s best group of returning offensive linemen.
It would be safe to assume these three deserving Illini will use this as fuel to their fire as they prepare for the upcoming season.