Looks Like University Of Illinois - Blake Jeresaty

Apr 14, 2020

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First off, I needed to know how to pronounce his name. According to the pronunciation guide in the Wofford media guide it's JER-uh-saw-tee. I was leaning towards jer-ESS-uh-tee, so I'm glad I looked that one up.

Next, I'd like to note that we're suddenly back to 24 scholarship seniors next season. I've been tracking that for a while, wondering if the 2020 class would have more seniors than the three previous classes combined. I'll go through that math real quick.

  • Combining 2017, 2018, and 2019, only 26 scholarship seniors walked on Senior Day. 7, then 8, then 11. This was the result of Lovie playing 21 of the 24 scholarship freshmen in his 2017 class and many of the upperclassmen saying "well, I'm off to look for playing time".
  • At one point, the number of scholarship seniors in 2020 jumped as high as 31. There were 26 scholarship seniors over three years combined... and then there were going to be 31 in 2020 alone.
  • But then that number began to dwindle. Players were dismissed from the team (Bennett Williams, Lou Dorsey). Players left (Larry Boyd, Evan Jones). Players moved on after their redshirt junior season (Kurt Gavin, Ayo Shogbonyo). Players went on injury scholarship (Bobby Roundtree, Brandon Jones). When Gavin, Shogbonyo, and Griffin Palmer left after last season, the number of scholarship seniors dropped to 22.
  • Now we've added two fifth-year transfers (Jeresaty and Christian Bell) to push the number back to 24. If Desmond Dan only gets a fifth year (he could apply for a 6th year medical waiver for 2021), then the number would be 25.

(It was then that Robert realized that he was the only person who cared about this.)

My main point: each fifth-year transfer puts a little more pressure on 2020 to be the year. Two of last year's transfers are now gone - Betiku declared for the draft and Petitbon graduated - and they've been replaced by Blake Jeresaty and Christian Bell. Not that there wasn't already pressure on 2020, of course. I'm just saying that these are the final pieces being glue-sticked to Lovie's science fair project: Building Your 2020 Football Team From Scratch By Completely Starting Over In 2017. He needs to get an A.

I'll start with what bugs me about this transfer. I want to know the "30 teams" that reached out to Jeresaty in the week after he put his name in the transfer portal. I read a few different articles about his transfer and they all made it sound like he was getting Big 12, SEC, and Big Ten offers and then picked Illinois. I need names. Are we talking "Auburn and Michigan State both offered" or are we saying that Vandy and Rutgers were in contact? That's the kind of thing that can help a man determine Cruises.

What we do know: Jeresaty was an FCS All American, and with a year left, he decided to give FBS football a shot. According to this article from his hometown paper (he grew up in Charleston, South Carolina), he put his name in the Transfer Portal on Monday the 6th, fielded about 30 calls, and picked Illinois five days later on Saturday.

He also put a bunch of his own film on YouTube last Monday, so he's ready-made for film evaluation. Let's do that, shall we?

The thing that sticks out the most: he's so very light on his feet. It's very rare to see an offensive lineman able to move that well. I always see lower level All American teams as being "players that stick out when the coaches review the opponent's film", and you can absolutely see why he sticks out. That kind of lateral movement is rare. If he was 6'-5", he wouldn't be transferring to Illinois - he'd be declaring for the draft. A lineman who can burst sideways like that is every NFL OL coach's dream.

The issue, of course: he's not 6'-5". The Wofford roster lists him as 6'-2" and the article above lists him as 6'-1". That's probably why he was at Wofford and not Clemson after high school. When you're 6'-1", NFL teams (and college teams like Clemson) probably won't give you a look.

But that doesn't mean you can't be a great college player. Starting center Doug Kramer is in that same 6'-1"/6'-2" boat, and he was honorable mention All Big Ten last season and is looking to make a push for either first-team or second-team this season. Just because NFL teams set the minimum around 6'-4" doesn't mean you can't be a great college player.

And the same is probably true of Jeresaty. In the Big Ten you need tackles with height, and you have that in Lowe and Palcho, and then you can get away with shorter guys inside. If Jeresaty is Richie Petitbon's replacement at right guard, then you'd go 6'-3" Kendrick Green, 6'-1" Doug Kramer, and 6'-1" Blake Jeresaty. Not ideal, but you can make that work, especially if they all share the same quickness, which they do.

In the bowl game, with Kramer injured, Kendrick Green slid over to center with Jake Cerny playing left guard. So Cerny is probably Jeresaty's competition for that right guard spot next season. He's more of a tackle by trade, so if Jeresaty wins the spot, then Cerny can be the backup at both left and right tackle. That would look something like this:

LT: Lowe (SR) / Cerny (SR)
LG: Green (JR) / Slaughter (SO)
C: Kramer (SR) / Engel (SO-walkon)
RG: Jeresaty (SR) / V. Brown (SO)
RT: Palczewski (SR) / Pearl (SO)

Of the three grad transfers so far (Christian Bell, Desmond Dan, and Jeresaty), I think Jeresaty is clearly the best one. I think most of the first team All American linemen in the FCS could find a spot in a power five conference. His footwork is really, really good. The only issue is size and whether he'll get overpowered by Iowa and Wisconsin defensive linemen. He'll probably need some Kendrick Green-like leg strength to overcome the height issues.

So for Tom Cruises, I think this settles right around three. I was hoping for a grad-transfer offensive lineman, and we found a good one. If he was 6'-5", he'd get 4.5 Cruises. But if he was 6'-5", he'd be a second-round pick next week.

Blake Jeresaty - Three Tom Cruises.


Hhsillini on April 15, 2020 @ 01:21 AM

Have you seen his highlights vs Clemson? He more than held his own! Great pickup!

lucasmeducas on April 15, 2020 @ 02:28 PM

I think we're actually at 25 scholarship seniors now that Tabel is on scholarship if you count Knight as a senior...

  1. Smalling 2. Eifler 3. Sidney 4. Adams 5. Hobbs 6. Bhe Bhe 7. Knight (Jr. eligibility after sitting last year Sr in years) 8. Hayes 9. McCourt 10. Smith 11. Peters 12. Walker 13. Bonner 14. DeGroot 15. Hansen 16. Mondesir 17. Tabel 18. Palcho 19. Kramer 20. Cerny 21. Lowe 22. Gay 23. Carney 24. Bell 25. Jertsey

That's a ton of experience! We just need another solid DT in the rotation and I'll really like our chances at 7-5. Assuming we actually play all 12 games...

Robert on April 15, 2020 @ 02:51 PM

I'm going by the official roster there. It lists Kendall Smith as a senior (even though he could've technically redshirted last year because he only played in two games), but it lists Knight as a junior. Knight wasn't a playing time casualty - knee injury in spring ball and missed the entire season. Full-season redshirt, returns as a junior.

But yes, like Palmer and Gavin this past season, there are 4th-year juniors who could be added to the senior list and walk on Senior Day. Some of these obviously won't, but here's the list of 4th-year juniors on scholarship:

Derrick Smith, James Knight, Mike Epstein, Kendrick Green, Donny Navarro, Jamal Woods, and Deon Pate.

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