I have a few favorite photos of the past few years in Illinois sports.
- Geronimo Allison doing the Alma Mater pose after a 1-yard TD catch to upset Nebraska in 2015.
- Malcolm Hill kissing the floor after upsetting MSU on Senior Night in 2017.
- Basically any picture from the upset of MSU in 2019.
- Oh, and this fake photo.
This graphic of Reggie Corbin holding a Heisman Trophy that says “Reggie Corbin, Illinois RB” on it gives me some Deadpool vibes. And I love it.
Because, at the end of the day, it’s fun to dream. Obviously, I’m not sure we’ll ever see a non-QB win a Heisman again, solely because it’s just about putting up gaudy numbers. And even if Corbin duplicated his 2018 season and took it to another level and Illinois went undefeated, he’d still lose to Trevor Lawrence’s 60 TD passes and 10 rushing scores and 4,000 yards. It wouldn’t be fair.
Also, it’s Illinois in the 2010s. Do we really think Reggie Corbin would stand a chance at getting the name recognition to win the Heisman? Probably not.
But I still love the picture.
From my time covering the Illini, I think Corbin is my favorite athlete. It’s the hair. It’s the story. It’s the personality. It’s the attitude. It’s the giving back to a community that adopted him and he adopted as his own.
It’s about working through a year where Garrick McGee forgot he had Corbin to a historic junior campaign under Rod Smith at the OC.
I can throw a bunch of stats at you right now. I’m not sure if that does it justice. It’s so easy to be hyped for Corbin because he’s a known quality for this Illini team. He’s going to break some big runs. He’s going to be shifty. He’s going to be fun to watch. And he’s going to be extremely likable while doing it — even if the losses pile up.
Corbin is already 23 years old. By the time the NFL Draft comes around in the spring, he’ll be 24. For a halfback, that’s so old. Ezekiel Elliott is only about eight months older than Corbin, and he’s looking for the biggest contract ever for a running back. With that said, I’m not sure what Corbin’s professional career will look like, mostly because he’ll need a team to really take a chance on him.
But what I do know is that he’ll persevere and earn that opportunity. And for Illinois in Lovie’s make-or-break year, there might not be a player Illini nation is more ready to watch again than Reggie Corbin.