Pro Football Focus All-Big Ten 2nd Team
- K Caleb Griffin
There is only one player on the PFF All-Big Ten second team, and that one player is kicker, Caleb Griffin. The Danville native is entering his final season with the Illini and is ready to make his mark.
Griffin had an okay year in 2022. He would make 14-of-19 field goals and every extra point attempt. His 73.7% conversion rate would rank No. 11 in the Big Ten last season.
A reason for Griffin’s rise in the Big Ten this preseason is due to experience and the fact numerous kickers ahead of him went in the 2023 NFL Draft. This left the door open for Griffin to earn the great preseason honor of being on the All-Big Ten team.
I will also be curious to see how much competition Griffin will have in the Illinois kicking game this season. Then-freshman Fabrizio Pinton came in from Air Force and made 7-of-7 on his field goals. Illinois also added a sensational kicker from the class of 2023 in David Olano. If there is any wavering by Griffin or he can’t get that conversion rate up into the high 70s, then I wouldn’t be shocked to see Bret Bielema go in a different direction.
Griffin has a chance to do something special in the Illinois kicking game this season. He is following a long line of talented Illini kickers. I look forward to watching him win us a few games in 2023.