Illinois football has added two huge pieces from the transfer portal in the past week

Bret Bielema is fighting back, as the Illinois football team continues to add huge transfer portal pieces
Ohio v Penn State
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The offseason started in a rough fashion for the Illinois football program, as players departed from the program.

The transfer portal was getting the best of us, but Bret Bielema and the Illini coaching staff have managed to turn the tides in recent weeks.

Illinois was already bringing in a solid group of transfer portal players. We replaced our departing defensive line with some nice pieces, and there were a few other holes that were plugged with some good additions.

I wanted Illinois to land a few other transfer portal players to help build depth. Over the past week, Bielema has been able to pull in exactly what I was hoping for.

Illinois football secured two huge transfer portal players who will make an immediate impact

Torrie Cox Jr. – Cornerback

Coming out of Chaminade-Madonna Prep in Florida, Torrie Cox Jr. was not looked at as a prime recruit. He was rated as a three-star cornerback and was ranked as the No. 2041 player in the class of 2021.

Cox picked Ohio as his landing spot out of high school. With the Bobcats, Cox blossomed into a really good player. Over the past two seasons, he has had 88.0 tackles, 7.0 pass deflections, 4.0 interceptions, and 1.5 sacks.

Illinois needed to add depth in the defensive backfield. Just a few weeks ago, we also added Terrance Brooks, who will be a starter for the Illini. I think Cox likely comes in and either starts or is a primary backup from day one. Getting quality depth like Cox is invaluable to the future of this program.

Kellen Francis – Offensive Tackle

Illinois lost some big offensive linemen from the 2023 squad, and Kellen Francis should help fill those voids.

Francis went the junior college route coming out of Princeville High School in Illinois. This past season, he suited up for Butler CC. The 6-foot-5, 307-pound offensive tackle decided to transfer after one season in the JUCO ranks, and he had a lot of recruiting attention.

In addition to the Illinois offer, Francis also had offers from teams like Arkansas and Houston. The Illini ended up winning out on this recruit, and now we have another option on the offensive line.

The great thing about the addition of Francis is that he is only entering his sophomore season. He is a talented player who can make an impact on this team. Illinois has another depth piece for next season. I am excited to see what Francis can do for this program.

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