It appears Lovie Smith and the Fighting Illini may be turning towards the transfer market to help fill out the future depth chart. The News-Gazette’s Bob Asmussen reported that Kentucky tight end Darryl Long was in Champaign on Tuesday to watch the team practice and speak with coaches. Long, an Ohio native, would have two years of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2016 season.
Wildcats coach Mark Stoops informed the media of Long’s intent to transfer on August 8 — no reason was given for the decision. Our friends over at A Sea Of Blue wrote that the redshirt-sophomore was projected to be the backup tight end.
Illinois’ old coaching staff recruited Long out of high school, so it makes sense that they’re already being considered as a potential destination. Long was rated as the No. 606 overall player in the country, and he held other offers from Louisville, Missouri, Indiana, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Minnesota.
Illinois’ depth chart at the position will be rather unclear after this season, as the program will lose seniors Tyler White, Ainslie Johnson, and Andrew Davis. So Long would likely step in and see significant playing time — which is important because offensive coordinator Garrick McGee has already shown a tendency to use tight ends at training camp.
Also of note: Long’s brother, Dominique, is a current Michigan State commit; he’s a three-star safety that has no other Power 5 scholarship offers.
Darryl Long Highlights (High School)