Freshman jersey number day finally arrived yesterday for Illinois Football.
While uniforms numbers are quite unimportant outside of player identification for fouls, many of the players care deeply about them. As a person who cares deeply about aesthetics and the unimportant, silly things in sports, so do I.
As a youth I was almost always 3 in soccer and baseball, and I will always hold a special place with this number in my heart. Did I simply get this number because I was a fat kid who needed a larger shirt and thus got one of the first numbers on my uniform? Yes, but that’s not what’s important right now.
What’s important is ranking the uniform number choices of the newest Illini.
1. Calvin Avery #93 - DT
The last Illini defensive tackle to be picked in the first round of the NFL draft was Cory Liuget, who also wore 93. Big statement of intent here, and a good DT number.
2. Verdis Brown #94 - DT
Akeem Spence! Spence played alongside Liuget in college and wore 94 on his way to the NFL. Big fan of Brown and Avery with consecutive numbers, and even bigger fan of them being the same numbers as the last great pair of Illini DTs.
3. Coran Taylor #7 - QB
7 is the perfect number for a dual-threat QB and of course has a bit of a legacy at Illinois.
4. Jakari Norwood #3 - RB
I just like the number 3, ok.
5. Jordyn Slaughter #66 - OL
The perfect last name for an offensive lineman gets the classic offensive line number. Solid.
6. Drake Davis #14 - QB
14 is an underused number for QBs, and a bit of a throwback number to boot. I’m a fan.
7. Carlos Sandy #11 -WR
It’s always nice when a jersey number is handed off from one player to another, and Sandy getting Malik Turner’s 11 is nice.
8. Edwin Carter #80 - WR
Can’t go wrong with 80 for a WR.
9. Kenyon Sims #22 - RB
Nor 22 for a RB.
10. Khalan Tolson #45 - LB
45 is a good number for a versatile sideline to sideline linebacker. It has a bit of swagger to it, and Illinois can use some of that at linebacker.
11. Mitch McNutt #28 - RB
12. Kievan Myers #72 - OL
13. Jartavius Martin #21 - DB
This number’s got some moxie, and hopefully so will Martin on the field.
14. Donny Navarro #86 - WR
Navarro has many curved letters in it and it matches the curvy number of 86 well.
15. Dylan Wyatt #22 - DB
16. Nick Walker #20 - DB
Ain’t no problem.
17. Reuben Unije #70 - OL
18. Delano Ware #15 - DB
Little unconventional, but fine for a DB.
19. Jacob Hollins #47 - LB
Yeah I know J Leman wore the old 47, but it’s still a sort of strange number that really belongs to no posistion. I guess it’s ok for a linebacker.
20. MJ Rivers #8 - QB
21. Matt Robinson #12 - QB
22. Jordan Holmes #84 - WR
23. Daniel Barker #87 - TE
24. Kerby Joseph #25 - DB
It’s such a baseball number and it always looks a bit weird for football.
25. Dylan Thomas #82 - WR
26. Alec Andrea #27 - DB
27. Shaedon Meadows #6 - WR
Of all the single digit numbers a WR can pick, 6 has to be the least fun. It’s 6.
6. Just 6. Bleh.
28. Ron Hardge III #23 - DB
23 is good, but if you have the third in your name you should be just given number 3. Maybe after Phillips graduates the switch could be made.
29. Caleb Griffin #38 - K
Griffin is not in the above graphic as he is a blue shirt and the school cannot comment on him yet, but he did share his new number on Twitter.
I like my kickers to have either very normal or very strange numbers. This is splitting the difference and I do not like it. To his credit, he did pick it because his hometown of Danville is 38 miles from Memorial Stadium.
30. Sydney Brown #30 - DB
Number is too high for a DB imho.
31. Preston Engel #58 - OL
Leave the 50s to the LBs, you guys.
32. PC Daniel III #34 - DB
Again another ‘the third’. 3 or 33 would have been more fitting, and 34 also not the best DB number.
33. Ron Gaines #62 - LS
Long snappers need to go full weird with the numbers. I mean come on y’all, you play by far the funniest posistion. 69 was there for the taking.
34. Julian Pearl #48 - DL
Pearl getting a non-OL number shows that he will be switching to the defense, but 48 for a defensive lineman? No. Just no.
35. Ezekiel Holmes #33 - DL
I don’t understand this.
36. D’Ante Cox #24 - WR
What? No. Please, god no. No.
This is ungodly.