The 90 Illini #6: Daniel Barker

Aug 24, 2021

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I made it through the preview relatively unscathed this year. When it comes to The 90 Illini, that is. I'm usually dozens of players behind by the time the preview is finally published - right now I'm just two days behind. I'll knock out two of them real quick and then presto, back on schedule.

6. Daniel Barker

Tight End
Uniform number: 87
Year in school: Junior (without the Covid waiver, 2 years to play 1; with the Covid waiver, technically 3 years to play 2)
Height: 6'-4" -- Weight: 250 lbs.
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
High School: Deerfield Beach HS
Five best offers: Kentucky, Pitt, UCF, Appalachian State, Marshall
Tom Cruise rating:

2020 statistics: Played in all eight games. 19 catches for 268 yards and 2 touchdowns.


The way I remember it, he came down to Illinois, Kentucky, and Pitt. He did a June swing through the Midwest, I believe he visited all three schools, and he picked Illinois. I was pretty excited as you can see from the LLUOI post linked there. Originally considered 3.5 Cruises, settled on three, and wish I would have gone with four.

He's steadily gotten better every season. His breakout moment was probably the touchdown catch to beat Michigan State with five seconds remaining in 2019. He had 18 catches in 13 games that season and then 19 catches in 8 games last season. Using mathematics, if last year was a 13-game season, he would have had 31 catches. Which, to an Illinois fan, feels like it would be a world record for catches by a tight end.

2021 Outlook

I set the goal in the preview for 60 catches from the tight ends this season. We've only gotten close to that once in the last 10 years, and that was 52 catches from the 2013 tight ends (Matt LaCosse and Jon Davis). Every other year in that stretch - 34 or less. Sometimes in the teens.

So if this offense is going to emphasize the tight ends, look for a big year from Barker. The staff got to see what he could do in the spring and in the summer and I think they'll target him early and often.

'Cause remember, they got to see him do this:

I mean...


ktal on August 25, 2021 @ 10:31 PM

Wow. Great screen grab.

PapaDels4me on August 26, 2021 @ 08:38 AM

Almost as good as the catch ! Agreed

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