The 90 Illini #44: Reggie Love
You have currently viewed 1 story this month.
IlliniBoard now offers two free stories per month, for more please subscribe.
Reggie Love is still the player I have circled for my "what if Covid means there's an Illini player who plays in more than 60 college football games?" thing. How am I getting to 60? A quick overview.
Start with a freshman in 2020 who could play that season and then it not count. Then that player could play in four games in 2021 and take a redshirt. And then that player could play in 13 games (12 regular season games plus a bowl game) for the next four seasons.
Of course, as I'm typing that out, it occurs to me that it's possible a 2019 recruit who only played in four games that season could potentially play in more games than Love (and that's assuming Love only plays in four games this fall and then takes a redshirt, which is probably unlikely). Keith Randolph maybe? He only played in four games in 2019 and returned as a redshirt freshman last year. Looking it up he... played in five games last fall (missed the others due to contact tracing), so he couldn't pass Love's six games. Seth Coleman? There's the guy. Played in 3 games in 2019 and then 8 games in 2020. So if he plays in every possible game in 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024, he'll play one more game than Reggie Love.
But that's because Love only played in six of the eight games last season. The way I projected his career (in last year's preview, I think?), I saw the chance that he could play in 10 games as a freshman (with a bowl, lol), then only play in four to redshirt in 2021, and then 13 each of the next four years totaling 66 college football games. He only played in six games, and we didn't make a bowl (lol), and he might not even redshirt this year, so I'll just shut up and move on because Coleman will beat him by one game no matter what happens.
44. Reggie Love
Uniform number: 23
Year in school: Freshman (without the Covid waiver, 4 years to play 4; with the Covid waiver, technically 5 years to play 4)
Height: 5'-11" -- Weight: 190 lbs.
Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri
High School: Trinity Catholic HS
Five best offers: Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Penn State, Tennessee, Iowa
Tom Cruise rating:
2020 statistics: Played in 6 of the 8 games, 10 carries for 12 yards.
It's rather jarring to see some of these offer lists. I think the overall hatred for Lovie's recruiting moved the pendulum too far to the "there's no talent" side of things. Someone on Twitter asked me the other day (after the Aidan Laughery commitment) if I could remember the last time Illinois beat Iowa for a recruit. I mean, I get the sentiment, but just look at the last two 90 Illini posts. Illinois beat Iowa (and Ohio State and Clemson and Texas) for Shammond Cooper and Illinois beat Iowa (and Notre Dame and Wisconsin and Penn State) for Reggie Love. And in the non-Cory Patterson category, I think nearly the entire starting defensive line (Keith Randolph, Owen Carney, Jer'zhan Newton) had Iowa offers. My point: there's talent here to work with.
For Love, the question is when that talent makes its way onto the field. He's the highest rated player in the 2020 class, but he's also at a position where there's a bit of a logjam in front of him. I guess that's the "2021 Outlook" part so let's just get to that.
This post seems quite contradictory. On one side, I'm suggesting that with the logjam ahead of him, Love only play in four games this fall to preserve a year of eligibility. More carries open up in the future, so save as much eligibility as possible.
On the other hand, at the end of the last section I'm basically saying "this is a really talented kid who is going to expect carries soon". So with the transfer portal looming out there, expect some "keep everyone happy" rotations from coaches across the country. Nobody wants a situation where LeShoure has the hot hand but Ford is asked to run out the clock against Fresno State because it was "his turn" (actual quote), but there will be some deeper rotations so that guys feel part of the team, I think.
At running back, this season, if you ask me right now to lay out number of carries from 1 to 5, I'd say this:
1. Chase Brown
2. Mike Epstein
3. Chase Hayden
4. Reggie Love
5. Jakari Norwood
So the immediate goal for Love: beat out ECU transfer Chase Hayden for "third tailback" carries.