Tight ends set to be a big force on the Illini offense


CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Between Luke Ford and Daniel Barker, the Illini have plenty of personalities in the tight end room, but they have plenty of depth as well. Barker danced in the end zone four times last season with 273 yards, and will look to be another go-to-guy this fall.

With Illinois tight end Luke Ford becoming eligible this season, head coach Lovie Smith says the tight end room is the deepest it’s been. Add in USC-transfer Daniel Imatorbhebhe, and they have the potential to be a triple threat on the Illini offense.

“We’ve got everything that it takes to go real far, ” says Barker. “I just worked on things that I knew I had to work on and I just mastered those and got better.”

The debut of Luke Ford is also a highly anticipated one. The Georgia transfer has waited 22 months to get on the field. He played in seven games with the Bulldogs before transferring to Illinois in the spring of 2019.

“We [all] have different capabilities, different things that make each one of us great in what we do,” says Ford. “And it’ll make it harder for defenders to guard us.”

Imatorbhebhe will be another option in the position group. He had 25 receptions for 394 yards with four touchdowns in his career with the Trojans.

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