In 2024, the Illini will look to bounce back after missing a bowl game this season, but they will be without their starting running back.
On Thursday afternoon, Reggie Love III announced that he is entering his name into the transfer portal.
ILLINIFOREVER , what's NEXT? pic.twitter.com/M2iYxbpmw8— Reggie Love III ⷢ ⷥ (@Reggie22x) November 30, 2023
In the first three seasons of his Illinois career, Love’s role was limited due to Chase Brown’s presence in the backfield, as he only amassed 528 total yards and two touchdowns during that time.
However, Love’s opportunity emerged in 2023, and he took significant strides.
The junior fought through a midseason injury to rush for more yards (567) and touchdowns (4) than he had in his entire career, and he also ran for a career-high 4.9 yards per attempt.
Love’s breakout season was highlighted by a career-best performance against Indiana — his return from a three-game absence — in which he ran for 140 yards and two touchdowns in the OT win.
His second-best performance of the season was in the final game against Northwestern, rushing for 106 yards on 23 carries in the loss.
With Love more than likely leaving Illinois, the starting role in 2024 is now Kaden Feagin’s to lose. After back-to-back years of sustaining a season-ending injury, it’s also possible that Josh McCray returns and is in the mix once again.