Starter: Alex Pihlstrom
Illinois has a pretty solid foundation on the offensive line. Heading into the 2022 campaign, Alex Pihlstrom should be the starting center for the Illini. It is going to be hard to replace someone like Doug Kramer, but Pihlstrom has the experience and can do a good job at the center position.
At 6-foot-6, 300-pounds, Pihlstrom has the size to dominate in the Big Ten. He also has talent and experience. After transitioning from tight end, Pihlstrom played in eight games with two starts at guard in 2020. This past season, he played in 12 games with five starts. I look for Pihlstrom to be a staple on the Illinois offensive line this season.
Backup: Josh Kreutz
A freshman to keep an eye on moving forward is Josh Kreutz. He was one of the best players Illinois snagged from the class of 2021. Kreutz was ranked as the No. 1047 player in the nation, and he has a great bloodline. His dad was Olin Kreutz who dominated at center for the Chicago Bears.
Kreutz had a chance to see action last season as a true freshman. He played in three games, but then he took a redshirt to save a year. He didn’t have to play much due to Doug Kramer playing center, so a redshirt was smart. Kreutz now has a chance to develop a little more as a second-string center for the Illini. The future of the position goes through Kreutz, and that is exciting to think about.