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Get a look at Illinois State's depth chart ahead of its season-opening game

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NORMAL — Illinois State's roster looks much different than the last time it took the field for a full season in 2019, and even from the 2020 spring roster.

Here's a look at the current depth chart, with some thoughts on each position grouping.

OFFENSE

LINE

LT-Cole Anderson, 6-4, 285, Sr.

Hunter Zambrano, 6-5, 300, Fr.

LG-Trey Georgie, 6-5, 305, Sr.

Zach Mueller, 6-5, 310, So.

C-Drew Bones, 6-4, 350, Jr.

Justin Bromagen, 6-4, 310, Fr.

RG-Peter Bussone, 6-2, 315, So.

Evan Day, 6-6, 310, Jr.

RT-Peyton Asche, 6-8, 315, So.

Kirby Peine, 6-5, 290, Jr.

ANALYSIS: The anchor in the middle, Bones is back from a knee injury that sidelined him during camp. Anderson and Georgie also are veterans. Bussone, who can also play center, moves into the first team line along with Asche, who has been groomed to replace graduated All-American tackle Drew Himmelman. Zambrano, Bromagen and tackle Daniel Forystek are highly regarded freshmen.

RECEIVERS

WR-Kacper Rutkiewicz, 5-8, 175, So.

Joey Lombardi, 5-9, 170, So.

WR-Austin Nagel, 6-1, 200, Jr.

Micah Jones, 6-5, 225, Jr.

WR-Jabari Khepera, 5-10, 195, So.

TreShawn Watson, 6-3, 205, Fr.

TE-Tanner Taula, 6-6, 260, Jr.

Mitchell Lewis, 6-5, 240, Jr.

ANALYSIS: Rutkiewicz and Nagel are the veterans in an intriguing group. Khepera and Watson are big-time talents who could emerge as key contributors. A Notre Dame transfer, Jones gives the Redbirds many options with his size. Taula hauled in a team-best 13 receptions in the spring. Montana transfer Bryson Deming adds to the depth of a suddenly strong tight end group.

BACKFIELD

QB-Bryce Jefferson, 6-3, 220, Jr.

Jackson Waring, 6-3, 215, Fr.

RB-Pha’leak Brown, 5-10, 205, So.

Nigel White, 5-9, 175, So.

FB-Tim McCloyn, 6-0, 230, Sr.

Tyler Pennington, 5-10, 230, Jr.

ANALYSIS: Jefferson applied a stranglehold to the starting job with a solid August and appears much improved over the spring. Waring has impressed with his poise and throwing ability. Brown and White both showed flashes of big-play ability in the spring and will be joined by Cole Mueller and Kevin Brown for a deep tailback unit. McCloyn is a powerful blocker in short yardage situations.

DEFENSE

LINE

E-Jude Okolo, 6-4, 285, So.

D’Marco Cross, 6-3, 240, Fr.

Nose-Jacob Powell, 6-2, 290, Sr.

Michael Gomez, 6-0, 275, Sr.

E-Josh Dinga, 6-6, 270, So.

Braydon Deming, 6-4, 255, Jr.

ANALYSIS: Okolo and Dinga provide good size and quickness. Powell moves back inside after seeing time at end in the spring. Minnesota transfer Noah Hickcox will help inside when his hamstring strain heals. The Redbirds are optimistic end Jason Lewan, their most experienced lineman, will be back from a foot injury by late September.

LINEBACKERS

Jack-Brandon Simon, 6-0, 240, Sr.

Damien Jackson, 6-3, 230, So.

Sam-Zeke Vandenburgh, 6-3, 235, Sr.

Jeremiah Jordan, 6-2, 235, So.

Mike-Kenton Wilhoit, 6-2, 235, Jr.

Cade Campos, 6-2, 210, So.

Will-Shanon Reid, 6-0, 230, Sr.

Jacob Bellizzi, 6-0, 235, So.

ANALYSIS: This is a group with exceptional size as only one of eight in the two deep weigh in at under 230. Simon and Vandenburgh will help with the pass rush off the edges. Wilhoit and Reid worked together well during the spring schedule on the inside.

SECONDARY

CB-Braden Price, 6-0, 195, So.

Julian Haynie, 6-2, 225, So.

SS-Iverson Brown, 6-1, 205, Jr.

Robert Parker-Crawford, 6-1, 175, Fr.

FS-Clayton Isbell, 6-3, 220, Jr.

Peyton Jones, 6-1, 205, Sr.

CB-Jarrell Jackson, 5-9, 185, Sr.

Franky West, 5-10, 170, So.

ANALYSIS: Do not be surprised if Isbell emerges as an all-conference player with his size and speed. Jackson and Brown assumed starting spots in the spring, and Price fits in well with the other three starters. Jones is the nickel back and a respected older voice.

SPECIALISTS

PK-Aidan Bresnahan, 6-0, 185, Sr.

JT Bohlken, 6-0, 185, Sr.

P-JT Bohlken, 6-0, 185, Sr.

Aidan Bresnahan, 6-0, 185, Sr.

LS-Joey Malinowski, 6-1, 245, Jr.

Peyton Cramer, 6-3, 225, Fr.

H-Spencer DeForest, 6-0, 180, So.

Austin Nagel, 6-1, 200, Jr.

ANALYSIS: Bohlken is a four-year starter at punter and ranks second in school history in average distance. Bresnahan won the place-kicking job in the spring and was 5-of-5 on field goal tries. Highly touted freshman Ian Wagner is waiting in the wings if needed at punter or kicker. DeForest serves as both holder and as the top punt returner.


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