Illinois Football: Illini favorites to land JUCO offensive lineman

The Crystal Ball was back in action on Wednesday, as the Illinois football program is projected to land another junior college (JUCO) recruit.

What the Illini have done to bring in instant-impact players for 2023 has been impressive. JUCO recruits like cornerback Kaleb Patterson and offensive lineman Dez’Mond Schuster will both be inserted into the depth chart and expected to perform from day one.

It is great that Bret Bielema has been able to pull in these talented recruits who have experience. We need more of that on the offensive line after multiple starters departed the Illinois program. I am excited to see what Schuster can do early on, but adding a player like Will Leys would also help fill some of the voids left on the offensive line.

Illinois football looks to be the favorite to land JUCO offensive lineman, Will Leys

Leys is a 6-foot-3, 285-pound offensive lineman from Saddleback College in California. He isn’t rated or ranked by 247Sports, but Leys does have numerous scholarship offers.

On Wednesday, Leys took an official visit to Illinois. That is probably why the Illini are now projected to land this talented pass-blocker. A Crystal Ball Prediction was submitted for Leys in favor of the Orange and Blue. Jeremy Werner of 247Sports gave the Illini an eight out of 10 to land Leys.

And eight out of 10 is a pretty confident prediction. It would make sense if there was some solid momentum in landing Leys, considering Bielema sent out a tweet earlier on Thursday saying he is feeling some “good news.”

Adding a player like Leys would be great for the Illinois depth. I think we are solid in the starting five with players like Zy Crisler, Isaiah Adams, Julian Pearl, and Jordyn Slaughter all likely getting the starting nod. But plenty of snaps can be had as a primary backup to these four.

I will be curious to see if Leys does pick Illinois as his landing spot. We could use more depth, and I think he would fit in well on the Illinois roster.