The 90 Illini #81: Dylan Rosiek
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There's always a benefit to enrolling early. Especially when there's a coaching change and the new staff is installing the new schemes in the spring. And ESPECIALLY when the top four linebackers on the depth chart are all rehabbing injuries in the spring.
That's what faced Dylan Rosiek this spring. Verballed to Lovie, signed in December during the week there was no coach, found out Bret Bielema would be his coach a few days after signing, arrived in January as an early enrollee, and then went through spring ball as one of three scholarship linebackers available.
81. Dylan Rosiek
Uniform number: 28
Year in school: True Freshman (5 years to play 4)
Height: 6'-1" -- Weight: 215 lbs.
Hometown: Tarpon Springs, Florida
High School: East Lake HS
Five best offers: Colorado State, Air Force, Army, Buffalo, Bowling Green
Tom Cruise rating:
He'll probably forever be linked to Jake Hansen. During the last coaching change, Jake Hansen, from East Lake High School, verballed to Bill Cubit and then played for Lovie Smith. Rosiek, from East Lake High School, verballed to Lovie Smith and will now play for Bret Bielema. And, in a funny twist of Covid fate, Rosiek will get to play with Hansen for one season because Hansen gets a sixth year on the field.
Rosiek had several MAC and Mountain West offers, but Illinois was his only Power Five offer. For linebackers, that's usually a size thing. A few inches taller and a little bit faster and he's a Power Five recruit. At his height (and speed), probably a G5 recruit. Iowa finds a guy like that every year and turns him into a 2nd Team All Big Ten linebacker. Hopefully Bielema can do the same.
For this year, fall camp will be completely different for Rosiek than spring ball. Jake Hansen, Khalan Tolson, Tarique Barnes, and Shammond Cooper all return from injury. And the new scheme simply has two inside linebackers now (with the OLB guys being more or less defensive ends), so there's only two starting spots to go around. Most likely, those four plus NC State transfer Calvin Hart are the linebackers who will be part of the rotation.
A step below that will be some of the walkons (like Isaac Darkangelo) and some of the freshmen (like Rosiek). So I feel like we're looking at a certain redshirt here. As the four guys above slowly graduate (Hansen after this season, then Tolson after next season, and on and on) Rosiek can slowly work his way up into the rotation.