The 90 Illini #59: Tip Reiman
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There always seems to be one walkon who plays immediately (while other scholarship freshmen redshirt). In 2017, it was Michael Marchese. 2018, Jordan Holmes. 2019, Bryce Barnes. This past season, it was Tip Reiman. There were lots of true freshmen who either didn't play at all or only got in the last two games last season. Reiman played in every game.
That's the kind of thing that moves you into the 50's on The 90 Illini.
59. Tip Reiman
Uniform number: 89
Year in school: Redshirt Freshman (without the Covid waiver, 3 years to play 3; with the Covid waiver, technically 4 years to play 4)
Height: 6'-5" -- Weight: 230 lbs.
Hometown: Rapid City, South Dakota
High School: O'Gorman HS
Five best offers: n/a - walkon
Tom Cruise rating: n/a - walkon
2020 statistics: Played in all 8 games as a true freshman walkon, mostly on special teams.
Reiman had a few small school offers coming out of small state high school football (South Dakota). He chose to walk on at Illinois and chase a potential future scholarship. And if there's any position where you should walk on, it's tight end. There's a long history (not just at Illinois, but everywhere) of walkon tight ends eventually earning scholarships.
Last season, we weren't allowed to watch practice, but I noticed Rieman during the first home game. Who is this tall guy running like a gazelle? It's a walkon tight end chasing an eventual scholarship.
Tight end is the hardest position to predict since we've added 152 tight ends since January, either players switching to tight end, walkons arriving, walkons transferring in (like this kid from Abilene Christian who walked on this summer). So what was once 4 tight ends at the first practice this spring is now 14.
The main reason for that, I think, is because there will be several roles. We'll run some three tight end sets, and I'm going to think of those three tight end sets as having three kinds of tight ends:
1. Pass catchers who struggle to block.
2. Blockers who struggle to run routes.
3. Guys who can do both.
To me, that means they'll set up a depth chart with all three. If they come out with three TE's the first play against Nebraska, I'd guess it's twin TE's on one side - Daniel Barker (pass catcher) on the outside and Luke Ford (guys who can do both) on the inside, and then on the other end of the line it's Max Rosenthal (blocker) in a two-point stance as the H-back.
So build a depth chart behind all three of those. I don't know what the rest of these guys bring to the table, but for me, I'd put Reiman in line behind Ford or Barker. Barker gets the majority of the snaps at 1, Rosenthal gets the majority of snaps at 2, Ford gets the majority of snaps at 3, and then the backup at 1 and 3 is probably Reiman.