- Starter: Desmond Schuster
I mentioned there were a couple of big question marks I had for the Illinois football team in 2023. Center was one of the question marks. I think right tackle is another one. Entering the 2023 campaign, I have Desmond Schuster starting at right tackle for the Illini.
Schuster joined the Illinois program this summer after spending time with Hutchinson Community College in the junior college ranks. He was a three-star recruit who was the No. 37 JUCO player in the class of 2023. I think there could be a legit battle for the starting right tackle job. It wouldn’t shock me to see multiple players get starts at this position, but I think Schuster will have the most starts at right tackle in 2023.
- 2nd String: Josh Gesky
The player who could be competing for starts at right tackle is Josh Gesky. The 6-foot-5, 325-pound, offensive tackle came into the Illinois program in 2021 and took a redshirt. He played in 12 games last season on special teams. In 2023, Gesky will provide a lot of depth for the Illini. He is going to get his chance to start and play snaps. Look for Gesky to play a big role in the Illinois offense.
- 3rd String: Brandon Henderson
I think the right tackle position has a wild card. Brandon Henderson is going to be a true freshman this season, but he might be crashing the party at this position. Henderson was a three-star recruit who was ranked as the No. 944 player in the class of 2023. He did enroll at Illinois early, though. This gives him some experience and knowledge even before his freshman season starts. Bret Bielema has also talked about how talented Henderson is on the field. I wouldn’t be shocked if he works his way up the depth chart or even sees a start in 2023.
- 4th String: Zachary Aamland
While he won’t be used in 2023, Zachary Aamland will be a valuable piece to the puzzle down the road. Aamland is coming in as a three-star recruit who was the No. 1340 player in the class of 2023. I fully expect him to redshirt this season. Look for Aamland to be big for the Illini in future seasons, though.