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Future of Bielema’s Illini Defined By Freshmen Offensive Line Body Transformations 

Future of Bielema’s Illini Defined By Freshmen Offensive Line Body Transformations 

Of the eight newcomer offensive linemen brought in this offseason, only three are under 300 pounds and Illini looking to start one of the largest o-line units in Big Ten in 2022. 

By Matt Stevens - IlliniGuys Football Writer/Analyst

August 10, 2022

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- When Hunter Whitenack walked into the weight room for summer conditioning work, the sheer look of his body got the attention of his older teammates. 

The freshman, 19-year-old from New Carlisle, Ind., measured in for preseason camp at 6-foot-7 and weighed in at 345 pounds - which is 55 pounds heavier than his listed weight as a three-star prospect at New Prairie High School where he was a three-time all-area, and all-conference selection. 

“I look at Hunter Whitenack and have to think how I was 215 (pounds) and now I was a walk-on tight end at the time but my God, I can’t imagine being that big and moving that well at 19 years old,” Illinois center Alex Pihlstrom said on Aug. 1. “I have work so hard to keep my flexibility and mobility and I’m only 305 to 310. This kid has 20-30 pounds on me. As of today, Hunter benches more than most of the offensive line and he’s never blinked at anything. All of these are worlds ahead of where they probably should be.” 

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The Farrell Report - Rating the Defensive Transfer Portal

The Farrell Report - Rating the Defensive Transfer Portal

Mike Farrell, IlliniGuys National Football Recruiting Expert

August 10, 2022

I’ve broken down the offensive and defensive recruits in the 2023 class for Illinois, but the transfer portal could be even more important.

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Jamarrion Harkless, Illinois’ Highest Ranked 2023 Defensive Commit, Renounces Verbal Pledge to Illini

Jamarrion Harkless, Illinois’ Highest Ranked 2023 Defensive Commit, Renounces Verbal Pledge to Illini

Harkless’ decommitment announcement represents a major blow to the top of Illinois’ 2023 recruitment class board and makes them thin again at a coveted position group. 

By Matt Stevens - IlliniGuys Football Writer/Analyst

August 9, 2022

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The spotlighted committed figure on defense for Illinois’ 2023 recruiting class is no more. 

Jamarrion Harkless, a three-star defensive tackle prospect from Lexington, Kentucky, who served as the highest-ranked and biggest recruiting win for the Illini’s 2023 recruiting class has publicly announced he is no longer verbally pledged to Illinois and will likely be signing with another Power Five Conference program. 

Harkless committed on June 5 after a completing a weekend visit in Champaign - the only official visit he’s taken during the recruitment process for the 290-pound defensive tackle prospect from Frederick Douglass High School in Lexington. 

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Breaking: Illini Lose Key Prospect as Defensive Tackle Jamarrion Harkless Decommits

Breaking: Illini Lose Key Prospect as Defensive Tackle Jamarrion Harkless Decommits

By Kedric Prince - IlliniGuys.com Director of Recruiting 

August 9, 2022

(Cover photo courtesy Your Sports Edge)

Illinois' recruiting class for next fall took a big hit this afternoon when defensive tackle Jamarrion Harkless announced he was decommitting from Illinois and re-opening his recruitment.

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Recruiting: Shauna Green offers 2025 standout Divine Bourrage

Recruiting: Shauna Green offers 2025 standout Divine Bourrage

By Kedric Prince – IlliniGuys.com Director of Recruiting

August 9, 2022

(Cover photo courtesy Rock Island Dispatch Argus)

Class: 2025

Why Illinois:  Divine Bourrage is a leader, not a follower. She comes from a family that is talented and rich in basketball history. Her mother Leanne Binion competed against Shauna (Geronzin) Green while in high school. Leanne’s uncle Devon Binion, a former honorable mention All-State basketball player in Illinois, competed in the IHSA State finals when Rock Island took on Chicago Simeon’s Ben Wilson’s team at the Assembly Hall.

The Davenport (IA) North star is a tough-nosed basketball player; she defends in the open court, half court and literally asks every coach she plays for if she could guard the other team's best player.

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Post-Preseason Scrimmage No. 1 Report - Aug. 8 - Illini RB Depth Shine in Closed Scrimmage

Post-Preseason Scrimmage No. 1 Report - Aug. 8 - Illini RB Depth Shine in Closed Scrimmage

By Matt Stevens - IlliniGuys Football Writer/Analyst

August 8, 2022

(Cover photo courtesy Illinois Athletics)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Welcome to the eighth day of fall preseason football camp for the Illinois program for the 2022 season in the second year of Illini head coach Bret Bielema.

Today marked the first preseason scrimmage work during the fall camp season where players were allowed to tackle to the ground for the first time since camp practice had opened in late July. With less than three weeks before Illinois hosts Wyoming on Aug. 27 (3 p.m. CST, BTN), the coaches used this as one of the eight allowed days in full pads before the season opener.

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Recruiting: Illinois Recruit Morez Johnson Is Showing He's One Of The Nation's Best

Recruiting: Illinois Recruit Morez Johnson Is Showing He's One Of The Nation's Best

By Kedric Prince - IlliniGuys.com Director of Recruiting 

August 8, 2022

(Cover photo courtesy Prep Hoops)

In November 2021, Illinois received an oral commitment from Morez Johnson, a 6-foot-9, 200-pound power forward from St. Rita High School and the Meanstreets AAU basketball program. 

A lot of fans did not really know what they were getting in this commitment, other than a big kid from the state of Illinois who plays with another giant in James Brown, who is also 6-foot-9.

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The Farrell Report - Rating the Transfer Portal

The Farrell Report - Rating the Transfer Portal

Mike Farrell, IlliniGuys National Football Recruiting Expert

August 8, 2022

I’ve broken down the offensive and defensive recruits in the 2023 class for Illinois, but the transfer portal could be even more important.

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Recruiting: Illinois In Great Shape with 2025 SG Trey McKenney

Recruiting: Illinois In Great Shape with 2025 SG Trey McKenney

By Kedric Prince - IlliniGuys.com Director of Recruiting 

August 6, 2022

(Cover photo courtesy MLive.com)

The Fighting Illini men’s basketball team had some major talent on campus recently, sophomore-to-be Trey McKenney, a 6-foot-2 shooting guard from Orchard Lake, Michigan. 

McKenney is a four-star recruit, but listed by ESPN as the 19th overall prospect in the class of 2025. Illinois was able to get the top prospect on campus and did a wonderful job of selling the Illinois program and what they can do for the star guard. 

His dad John McKenney came away in awe of his time spent in Champaign.

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Post-Practice Report - Aug. 6 - DeVito Shines with First Team Offense & Some Freshmen Surprises

Post-Practice Report - Aug. 6 - DeVito Shines with First Team Offense & Some Freshmen Surprises

Matt Stevens, IlliniGuys Staff Writer

August 6, 2022

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Welcome to the seventh day of fall preseason football camp for the Illinois program for the 2022 season in the second year of Illini head coach Bret Bielema.

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The Farrell Report - Zachary Tobe Breakdown

The Farrell Report - Zachary Tobe Breakdown

Mike Farrell, IlliniGuys National Football Recruiting Expert

August 6, 2022

North Carolina is known as a very solid recruiting program.

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Recruiting: Illini Coaches Flip Verbal Commitment of 2023 3-Star DB Zachary Tobe From UNC to Illinois

Recruiting: Illini Coaches Flip Verbal Commitment of 2023 3-Star DB Zachary Tobe From UNC to Illinois

Illinois executes its first commitment flip of the 2023 […]

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Illini Football 2022 Fall Camp Practice Report #3 (Practice No. 6) - Illini in Full Pads - Aug. 5, 2022

Illini Football 2022 Fall Camp Practice Report #3 (Practice No. 6) - Illini in Full Pads - Aug. 5, 2022

By Matt Stevens - IlliniGuys Football Writer/Analyst

August 5, 2022

(Cover photo courtesy Illinois Athletics)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Welcome to the sixth day of fall preseason football camp for the Illinois program for the 2022 season in the second year of Illini head coach Bret Bielema.

It was again simply a 15-minute viewing period (with a quick 5-minute introduction by Bielema) but here’s the quick notes:

Friday morning’s two-hour practice session was a day where the players were in full pads today on the grass practice fields just outside the Smith Family Football Center and it is anticipated the Illini will conduct its first scrimmage at Memorial Stadium. I don’t have details on the scrimmage schedule but I assume it’ll be closed to the public and media.

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The Farrell Report - Focus on the Defense

The Farrell Report - Focus on the Defense

Mike Farrell, IlliniGuys National Football Recruiting Expert August 5, […]

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Sean Snyder Sees Reunion With Bret Bielema at Illinois in 2022 “as an opportunity to learn”

Sean Snyder Sees Reunion With Bret Bielema at Illinois in 2022 “as an opportunity to learn”

After leaving Southern California, Sean Snyder has found a […]

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