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Illinois football added two major pieces of the transfer portal in the past week

The offseason started off rough for the Illinois football program, as players departed the program.

The transfer portal gained the upper hand, but Bret Bielema and the Illini coaching staff managed to turn the tide in recent weeks.

Illinois already brought in a solid group of transfer portal players. We replaced our departing defensive line with some nice pieces, and there were still a few gaps that were closed with some good additions.

I wanted Illinois to bring in a few other transfer portal players to help build depth. Over the past week, Bielema has been able to get exactly what I was hoping for.

Torrie Cox Jr. – Cornerback

Coming out of Chaminade-Madonna Prep in Florida, Torrie Cox Jr. not seen as a first recruit. He was rated as a three-star cornerback and was ranked as the No. 2,041 player in the 2021 class.

Cox chose Ohio as his landing spot after high school. Cox grew into a very good player with the Bobcats. Over the past two seasons, he has had 88.0 tackles, 7.0 pass deflections, 4.0 interceptions and 1.5 sacks.

Illinois needed to add depth to the defensive backfield. Just a few weeks ago we also added Terrance Brooks, who will be a starter for the Illini. I think Cox will probably come in and start or be a primary backup on day one. Getting quality depth like Cox is invaluable to the future of this program.

Kellen Francis – Offensive tackle

Illinois lost some big-time offensive linemen from the 2023 roster, and Kellen Francis should help fill those holes.

Francis took the junior college route from Princeville High School in Illinois. Last season he played for Butler CC. The 6-foot-1, 307-pound offensive tackle decided to transfer to the JUCO ranks after one season, and he received a lot of recruiting attention.

In addition to the offer from Illinois, Francis also received offers from teams such as Arkansas and Houston. The Illini ultimately got the better of this recruit, and now we have another option on the offensive line.

The great thing about the addition of Francis is that he is only entering his second season. He is a talented player who can make an impact on this team. Illinois still has a depth piece for next season. I am curious what Francis can do for this program.

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