The 90 Illini #66: Sed McConnell
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Here's another redshirt freshman who would be several spots higher if there weren't transfer portal additions this spring. Which, I guess, is kind of the point of using the portal. "This redshirt freshman might not be ready to be second-string yet, so let's add someone from the portal and allow for more development time."
This was the case with Josh Gesky (the three OL transfers allow for more development time) and it's the case with Sed McConnell. Adding two nerdschool DL transfers (Edwards from Northwestern and Wilkins from Vanderbilt) allows for McConnell to slowly develop instead of "hey kid - we're gonna need 25 snaps from you on Saturday. Hope you're ready."
In fact, I think you can draw a line from all of the transfers to at least one redshirt freshman:
- OL Isaiah Adams, Zy Crisler, and Dylan Davis - more development time for redshirt freshmen linemen like Josh Kreutz, Zach Barlev, and Josh Gesky.
- DL Raashaan Wilkins and TeRah Edwards - more development time for Sed McConnell.
- QB Tommy DeVito - more development time for Samari Collier.
- CB Terrell Jennings - more development time for Tyler Strain and DD Snyder.
- WR Jonah Morris - more development time for Daniel Edwards and Miles Scott.
The Transfer Portal. Giving your redshirt freshmen an extra year or two to develop since 2019.
66. Sed McConnell
Uniform number: 55
Year in school: Redshirt Freshman (4 years to play 4)
Height: 6'-3" -- Weight: 280 lbs.
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
High School: Westlake HS
Five best offers: West Virginia, Wake Forest, Minnesota, Pitt, Louisville
Tom Cruise rating:
2021 statistics: Did not play in any games, redshirted.
McConnell comes from a very well-known HS in Atlanta (Westlake). NFL players from Westlake include Cam Newton, AJ Terrell, Chance Warmack, and Pacman Jones. Hopefully McConnell develops to the point where he can add his name to that list.
He committed to Lovie in May of 2020, signed the week after Lovie was fired in December of 2021, and enrolled early last spring. So this spring was his second run through spring ball under Bret Bielema.
Johnny Newton and Keith Randolph will be on the field a lot. When there's two DL on the field with the two OLB's, it will be Newton and Randolph. When there are three DL with a nose tackle in the middle it's Newton and Randolph with either TeRah Edwards, Calvin Avery, or Verdis Brown. Lots and lots of Newton and Randolph.
But they can't play every snap, and McConnell is one of the names of the players fighting for snaps behind The Law Firm. There's tight-end-turned-OLB-turned-DT Bryce Barnes. There's 6th-year senior Jamal Woods. There's 6th-year senior Deon Pate. There's Vanderbilt transfer Raashaan Wilkins. And there's redshirt freshman Sed McConnell.
I'm guessing three of those five names are in the regular rotation. By putting him down here at 66, I guess I'm suggesting that McConnell won't be one of those names in 2022. He'll keep developing so he's ready for 2023, 2024, and 2025.