Starter: Jordyn Slaughter
After an insane injury that left Jordyn Slaughter sidelined for the entire 2021 campaign, he is back ready to be a starter for the Orange and Blue. I see him starting at a guard role for the Illini and holding that position for the entire season.
Slaughter was starting to rise on the Illinois offensive line before the injury. He took a redshirt in 2019 after playing a game. He then played in five games in 2020 with one start at guard. Last season was supposed to be his breakout year. Now, we get to see Slaughter develop into a dominating guard in 2022.
Backup: Dylan Davis
Illinois had some key transfers coming into the program this offseason. One of the biggest transfers was Dylan Davis. He came to Champaign after spending his freshman season with Furman.
While playing at Furman, Davis earned FCS Freshman All-American first-team honors by Phil Steele. He was one of the best FCS players on the offensive line, and I expect that out of him in 2022 and beyond. I see Davis being a solid second-string offensive lineman this season and then transitioning into a starting job in 2023.
Backup: Clayton Leonard
I don’t expect too many snaps for Clayton Leonard in year one, but I had him slotted as the third-string guard for the Illini.
Leonard is just a freshman this season. He was the No. 1701 player coming out of the class of 2022, so there is some serious development to be had here. But, with a redshirt year, I think Leonard could end up being a solid offensive lineman for the Orange and Blue.