Unless you have been living under a rock, it’s pretty common knowledge that Illinois lost its two elder quarterbacks Wednesday afternoon. Jeff George Jr. announced his intent to transfer from the program while Chayce Crouch is hanging up the cleats and retiring from football.
Crouch and George had very well-written notes that received a lot of attention on Twitter.
Let’s start with George.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” - Jeremiah 29:11 pic.twitter.com/of61WXyUtK— Jeff George (@jgeorgeqb) January 17, 2018
George opens his letter with, “Coach (Tim) Beckman and Coach (Bill) Cubit blessed me with an unbelievable opportunity to live out my dream to play for the University of Illinois.”
Here’s one of the interactions Crouch had following his announcement.
@teccrouch7 It was a pleasure and an honor to coach such a competitive player who loved his teammates Good luck— Bill Cubit (@CoachCubit) January 18, 2018
In short, George and Crouch both either mentioned (or communicated with) former head coach Tim Beckman or Bill Cubit in his letter. With two upperclassmen gone from the program — and a flurry of other transfers this offseason — I started thinking about how close is Illinois and head coach Lovie Smith from getting itself away from a past that most Illini faithful would prefer to forget.
Beckman was fired August 28, 2015, and Cubit was fired March 5, 2016.
Below you will find all of the remaining Illini players who played under either Beckman or Cubit. This includes players who are:
1.) Still on the official roster after this offseason
2.) Redshirted (or played in) the 2014 season
3.) Played in the 2015 season
- Mike Dudek (Jr. WR): Dudek — easily the most well-known name on this list — had a monster 2014 season with over 1,000 receiving yards. He enrolled in January 2014 and participated in spring practices, making him the most tenured Illinois player in 2018.
- Julian Hylton (Jr. RB): Hylton redshirted the 2014 season and played in 10 games (mostly on special teams) in 2015, recording seven total tackles.
- Austin Roberts (Jr. RB): Roberts redshirted the 2014 season and was used on the scout team in 2015. He appeared in all 12 games in 2017.
- Chase McLaughlin (Jr. K): McLaughlin, Illinois’ starting kicker the past two years, walked on in the summer of 2014 and redshirted in 2014. He didn’t hit the field at all in 2015. He served as captain in 2017.
- Henry McGrew (Jr. TE): McGrew redshirted the 2014 season and played in 11 games in 2015 as an outside linebacker, recording seven tackles. He had his first-career catch against Purdue in 2017.
- Nick Allegretti (Jr. OL): Allegretti redshirted 2014 after being a highly touted recruit. He has appeared in 35 of Illinois’ 36 games over the past three seasons, serving as a team captain in 2017.
- Mike Phair: Phair is the only coach remaining from the Beckman/Cubit era. He was hired in February 2015 and was the co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach. Phair is currently the team’s run game coordinator and defensive line coach.
- Nathan Scheelhaase: The former Illinois QB was the assistant director of football operations and running backs coach. He is currently an offensive analyst.
- Dre Brown
- Frank Sumpter
- Reggie Corbin
- Trenard Davis
- Cameron Watkins
- Justice Williams
- Adam Solomon
- Zeke Martin
- Bobby Walker
And here are the 2016 recruits who are still on the team that signed under interim (and then full-time) head coach Cubit:
- Tymir Oliver
- Stanley Green
- Dele Harding
- Caleb Reams
- Jake Hansen
- Jamal Milan
- Kenyon Jackson
Why’d we do this?
So you’re asking why we did this little activity in misery?
As many Illini have transferred away from the program this past offseason, many of you on Facebook and Twitter have been very vocal about concerns that too many payers are leaving the program.
That could be true, but with a closer look at what is left from the past era, it should be obvious that this is now Lovie Smith’s team. Whatever happens going forward is on the shoulders of Josh Whitman and Lovie.