CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Last season the Illini started five transfers in their home opener, and they’re expected to do the same this fall. Graduate-transfer Brandon Peters is returning for his second year as quarterback, while former-USC wide receivers Josh Imatorbhebhe and Trevon Sidney are also expected to make an impact.
For guys like Georgia-transfer Luke Ford, the wait to make an impact has been several months. The Georgia-transfer didn’t receive immediate eligibility and was sidelined last season. But a new NCAA proposal could change that moving forward.
The proposal will allow NCAA athletes to transfer one time without having to sit out a season of competition. Right now, football, basketball, and baseball players who transfer as an undergradute must sit out for a year. If the proposal passes, it will go into affect for the 2020-21 school year.
For head coach Lovie Smith, this is a big opportunity for the program who has seen continued success in the transfer portal.
“We thought we needed some guys that were a little bit older, our foundation will continue to be freshman coming in, but I think it’s just a base part of college football as we go forward, is the transfer, and in particular, the graduate transfer market,” says Smith. “We believe in it, and the guys that we got in our program have all been outstanding guys on and off the football field, and as I say we’ll continue to do it.”
“He’s shaped this program into becoming what it’s becoming, and I think us as transfers, kind of see the positive movement it’s going in,” says Sidney. “For me, I feel like an underdog, and I feel like Illinois is the underdog of the Big Ten.