Illinois Football: 3-star tight end lands Illini Crystal Ball Prediction

The Illinois football team may have a new weapon on the way after a new Crystal Ball Prediction came in for another 2024 recruit.

Looking to build off a solid 8-5 campaign in just his second season as head coach of the Illini, Bret Bielema continues to make moves on the recruiting trail – his latest coming on Friday.

Tanner Hollinger, a 6-foot-5, 235-pound tight end, announced to Twitter Friday that he received an offer from the Orange and Blue.  Hollinger plays for Cross Country High School in Stromsburg, Nebraska, where he made impacts on both sides of the ball. He is rated as a three-star recruit and ranked as the No. 93 tight end in the class of 2024. He is also the No. 16 player coming out of Nebraska.

In addition to the offer from Bielema, Illinois seems to be the favorite to land the Nebraska tight end. On Saturday morning, Jeremy Werner of 247Sports submitted a Crystal Ball Prediction in favor of the Illini landing Hollinger. He has a confidence of eight out of 10.

Tanner Hollinger would bring knowledge of both sides of the ball to the Illinois football program

Last season, he caught 13 passes for 141 yards, averaging 16.9 receiving yards per game, the second-highest on the team.  Hollinger added a team-high three receiving touchdowns as well.

To go along with his receiving abilities, the three-star’s physicality when blocking serves as a crucial asset in the run game.  Hollinger is explosive off the ball and runs through guys until the whistle.  There is a high chance he will bring some pancakes with him to Champaign if he does indeed commit to the Illini.

The tape doesn’t lie.

The Stromsburg product also totaled 50 tackles in just eight games as an edge rusher, averaging an impressive 6.3 tackles per game.  Nine of those tackles occurred in the backfield.

Hollinger likely will not be playing defense at the collegiate level, so why do I mention this?  His dominance on the defensive side shows he is explosive off the ball – something you need at tight end.

The film below also shows he is quick at getting to the quarterback.

Bielema and staff are competing with Air Force, Army, Navy, and Yale among others for his commitment.  The Illini currently have 11 players committed for the 2024 class, which ranks No. 40 in the country.