Illinois football is already hitting the transfer portal, as we are now targeting a power-five offensive lineman.
There are three departures currently on the books for the Illini. Backup kicker Fabrizio Pinton entered his name in first. Running back Reggie Love III was a surprise a couple of days ago when he entered his name into the transfer portal. And, on Friday, third-string offensive lineman Zachary Barlev decided to depart the program.
Out of these three departures, I would say Love heading elsewhere hurts the most. But Illinois is looking to retool this team, especially on the offensive line. That is why we are targeting players like Remington Strickland.
On November 30, Strickland announced on social media that he was entering the transfer portal. The Texas A&M offensive lineman wanted to find a new home after his head coach was fired.
That announcement was on Thursday, and less than 24 hours later, Illinois came in with a scholarship offer. Strickland didn’t just receive an offer from the Illini, though. Numerous teams have been on him about coming to play for their program.
Remington Strickland will not be the only transfer portal offensive lineman Illinois football targets
Strickland would be a nice addition to the Illini. Coming out of high school in Texas, Strickland was a three-star recruit who was ranked as the No. 413 player in the class of 2021. He had quite a few scholarship offers but landed on Texas A&M.
With the Aggies, Strickland didn’t see much playing time. He redshirted in 2021. Strickland then played in two games in 2022. This past season, Strickland saw action in five games and played a total of 43 snaps.
Strickland would be an instant-impact type of player. Illinois’ offensive line was bad in 2023. At this point, every offensive line position besides for center is an open competition. Strickland would likely be one of the top choices as a starting guard for the program.
The two starting guards to end the 2023 season were Zy Crisler and Jordyn Slaughter. The latter has moved on due to graduation, and Crisler struggled mightily. He had a hard time blocking anyone when it came to the pass. Crisler also had one of the worst Pro Football Focus grades at 57.7, which ranked No. 423 out of 651 guards in the FBS.
While Strickland played limited snaps in 2023, he seems to be an upgrade at the guard position. PFF has his grade for this past season at 65.4, and what is even better is the fact his pass-blocking grade is 67.2.
Illinois needs to put all resources in the transfer portal into finding quality offensive linemen. We can’t have a bad offensive line again or Luke Altmyer will struggle. I love Bret Bielema pursuing Strickland. He would be a big-time upgrade for the Illini.