WCIA — Illinois offensive lineman Julian Pearl is back into the Illini rotation after recovering from a basketball-related hand injury in the Spring.

The Danville native had to go through Spring ball with a club on his hand. The lineman is coming off his best season with 11 starts, and focused on maturing mentally while he was limited.

“In the Spring I really tried to get out of it just mentally growing,” Pearl said. “Taking mental reps, viewing things from the sideline, but I was lucky enough to club it. I think it was like six or seven practices. Then in the Summer, I just locked in. I had to change my body, put the right weight on. Physically I got there, and now I just have to put it all together for Fall camp.”

Alex Palczewski and Pearl are the two big returners on the line, the senior with 52 career starts and Pearl with 15. Alex Pihlstrom is in line to take over at center, and the left side could be all transfers. Isaiah Adams and Zy Crisler come in as big recruiting wins over the offseason.