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Transformation Tuesday: Chase McLaughlin

Could the Illini kicker be one of the best in the Big Ten in 2018?

Illinois v Ohio State Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

This season will be the last for Illinois kicker Chase McLaughlin. In two seasons as the Illini’s starter, McLaughlin has done something that few kickers in the college ranks have been able to do: never miss an extra point. Sitting at a perfect 43-for-43, McLaughlin could add to that mark this coming season as the Illini expect to be a more potent offense with new offensive coordinator Rod Smith at the helm.

A Texas native and an engineering major, McLaughlin was a team captain last season, going 9-for-9 on kicks inside 40 yards. As far as the Illini are concerned, his leg has been virtually automatic for this team since 2016.

His sophomore season —his first with considerable playing time — saw a 12-for-17 mark on field goals and a perfect 26-for-26 on PAT’s. Last season, only 63 kickers were perfect on PATs. The year before that, 64. Chase is in elite company considering he has yet to miss a PAT in his career.

PATs aside, the Illini know that as long as they can get the kick inside 40 yards, McLaughlin has a legitimate shot to convert the possession into three points. On a team that is rebuilding and could be playing the field control game all year, three points can go a long way.

For the record, the kid has the leg to kick further than 40 yards, as witnessed below.

Here is to a record setting year, Chase.