TreSean Smith

Illinois football
Getty Images

Illinois adds FCS standout as a transfer, at least the 10th such addition since March for the Fighting Illini

2 Comments

The transfer roll for Illinois football has shown no signs of abating.  In fact, it’s picking up a notch.

Earlier this week, Daniel Imatorbhebhe committed to the Illinois football program.  The tight end had opted to transfer from USC earlier this offseason.

Earlier this month, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) confirmed that it had suspended football as well as other fall sports seasons.  Because of that, South Carolina State’s Roderick Perry entered the NCAA transfer database.  A few days later, the defensive tackle announced on Twitter that he will be transferring to Illinois football.

“Giving special thanks to my parents, Rod & Maria and my Uncle Tim for being instrumental in my dedication to a life of football,” Perry wrote. “I would also like to thank the coaches at SC State for taking a chance on an unranked kid from Raleigh, NC. Finally, I’d like to thank my teammates and everyone supporting me with my decision.

“Due to unforeseen circumstances and after discussing it with Coaches and family, we collectively decided that the best decision for me at this time is to enter the transfer portal on June 24, 2020. It was never my intention to leave my bulldog family at South Carolina State University. In the fall of 2020 I will be joining the fight with the University of Illinois.”

Perry will be eligible to play immediately in 2020.

At South Carolina State this past season, the North Carolina native accounted for 14½ tackles for loss and 4½ sacks.  In a loss to USF, Perry was credited with three tackles, one of which went for a loss.

With Perry and Imatorbhebhe commitments, Illinois has now added at least 10 transfers since March.  seven of which are Power Five transfers.  And two of which were FCS All-Americans.

In mid-March, ex-Alabama linebacker Christian Bell tweeted that he was moving on to the Illini. Shortly thereafter, we noted that an FCS All-American offensive lineman had opted to transfer into the Illinois football program. New Mexico State wide receiver Desmond Dan did the same.  As did Miami wide receiver Brian Hightower.  And Mississippi State offensive lineman Brevyn Jones as well in early May  And Louisville defensive back TreSean Smith in mid-May.  And Cal defensive tackle Chinedu Udeogu that same month.  And Missouri wide receiver Khmari Thompson earlier this month.

USC TE Daniel Imatorbhebhe to join brother at Illinois, becomes seventh Power Five transfer Lovie Smith has landed since March

Illinois football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Illinois has added a very familiar — and unique — surname to its football roster.  Unofficially, of course.

In March of this year, Daniel Imatorbhebhe was granted a sixth season of eligibility.  Four months later, it was reported that the tight end would use that extra, extra year at somewhere other than USC as he entered the NCAA transfer database.

On Twitter Wednesday night, Imatorbhebhe announced that he has committed to the Illinois football program.

Thus far, the program has not confirmed Imatorbhebhe’s addition to the roster.

Obviously, as a sixth-year senior, Imatorbhebhe has already graduated.  And, as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately for the Fighting Illini in 2020.

Imatorbhebhe is the brother of Josh Imatorbhebhe, who was the Illini’s leading receiver a year ago (33-634-9).  Like his brother, Josh Imatorbhebhe played a portion of his collegiate career at USC.  In June of last year, that Imatorbhebhe transferred from USC into the Illinois football program as well.

The decision to give Daniel Imatorbhebhe a sixth season was a relatively easy one.  Imatorbhebhe was held out of spring practice two years ago for what was described as a nagging hip injury, then missed the entire 2018 season for what was called an upper leg muscle injury. The year before, a hip flexor injury caused him to miss five games.

After beginning his collegiate playing career at Florida, Imatorbhebhe, a three-star 2015 signee, decided to transfer in May of that year and ultimately landed at USC a month later. He took a redshirt as a true freshman.

During his time with the Trojans, the 6-3, 240-pound tight end started nine of the 22 games in which he played, catching 25 passes for 394 yards and four touchdowns.

With Imatorbhebhe’s commitment, Illinois has now added seven Power Five transfers since March.  All told, the Fighting Illini have added at least nine transfers overall.

In mid-March, ex-Alabama linebacker Christian Bell tweeted that he was moving on to the Illini. Shortly thereafter, we noted that an FCS All-American offensive lineman had opted to transfer into the Illinois football program. New Mexico State wide receiver Desmond Dan did the same.  As did Miami wide receiver Brian Hightower.  And Mississippi State offensive lineman Brevyn Jones as well in early May  And Louisville defensive back TreSean Smith in mid-May.  And Cal defensive tackle Chinedu Udeogu that same month.  And Missouri wide receiver Khmari Thompson earlier this month.

Illinois LB Joseph Thompson enters the transfer portal

Illinois football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Illinois has been on the right side of the football portal throughout the offseason.  Now, Lovie Smith‘s crew finds themselves on the wrong end.

First reported by Rivals.com, Joseph Thompson has entered his name into the NCAA transfer database.  247Sports.com subsequently confirmed that the defensive back is intent on leaving the Illinois football program.

Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.

As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.

NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.

Thompson was a three-star member of the Illinois football Class of 2019.  The Chicago native was rated as the No. 27 recruit regardless of position in the state of Illinois.  As a true freshman, Thompson didn’t appear in any games and took a redshirt.

On the positive side for the Illini? Illinois has added seven transfers to its football roster this offseason.  Five of those have come from Power Five programs.

In mid-March, ex-Alabama linebacker Christian Bell tweeted that he was moving on to the Illini. Shortly thereafter, we noted that an FCS All-American offensive lineman had opted to transfer into the Illinois football program. New Mexico State wide receiver Desmond Dan did the same.  As did Miami wide receiver Brian Hightower.  And Mississippi State offensive lineman Brevyn Jones as well in early May  And Louisville defensive back TreSean Smith last week mid-May.  And Cal defensive tackle Chinedu Udeogu that same month.