The 90 Illini #45: Anthony Shipton
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See here's where I'd typically be quickly re-arranging The 90 Illini after attending the first training camp practice this morning. I'd see that Slaughter was ahead or Brown at RG (or Brown ahead of Slaughter) and adjust the list accordingly.
We're not allowed at practice now, and I don't believe there will be any open scrimmages, so we're basically going into the season blind. Which means players like Anthony Shipton are difficult to rank without ever seeing them play a single snap of football. Will he be the 3rd defensive tackle or the 7th? Nobody will know until Wisconsin.
45. Anthony Shipton
Uniform number: 90
Year in school: Junior (2 years to play 2)
Height: 6'-4" -- Weight: 305 lbs.
Hometown: Orange, California
High School: Villa Park HS
Former team: Juco transfer from Cerritos College
Five best offers: Arizona, Hawaii, Southern Miss, UTEP, Arkansas State
Tom Cruise rating: 1.5 Cruises
2019 statistics: 40 tackles, 4 sacks, 5.5 TFL's at Cerritos College.
I went back to see what comp I used for Shipton when I wrote his LLUOI post: Abe Cajuste. I like that comp a lot - good job, Robert. Cajuste was in a very similar category to Shipton's "uh, we're losing a lot at defensive tackle and heir apparent Lere Oladipo was just kicked off the team - we really need a juco defensive tackle". He's even wearing #90, Oladipo's number. So yes, think of him as the emergency Oladipo replacement.
And he did have other offers from places like Arizona and Southern Miss, so this wasn't a complete project out of nowhere. Now we get to see if he's Big Ten material. It's usually a size and strength thing, and he's listed at 305 lbs, so apparently size won't be an issue. Strength? We'll see.
I think his outlook changes with the addition of Roderick Perry. At least his outlook for 2020. After Perry's FCS conference announced that they weren't playing football, Perry transferred to Illinois. He wants one year playing high-end competition before taking a shot at the draft. So Perry probably goes directly into the starting lineup. And Cal transfer Chinedu Udeogo also joined since Shipton joined. Who knows what he might bring, but there's even more upperclassman bodies to battle for DT rotation position.
So it's really hard to say where Shipton fits this year. We know that three guys graduated (Jamal Milan, Tymir Oliver, and Kenyon Jackson). Two guys from the regular rotation last year return (Jamal Woods and Calvin Avery). The "sixth man" (who played a fair bit towards the end of the year), Deon Pate, also returns. And then there's redshirt freshmen (like Moses Okpala) and true freshmen (like Jer'Zhan Newton) who might enter into the competition.
That makes it really hard to tell you Shipton's outlook. If it's a rotation of five guys, Woods, Avery, and Perry for sure. Probably Pate too. Then pick between Shipton, Udeogu, Okpala, and Newton for the fifth guy.
So maybe it's something like this for Shipton: This year doesn't count, so he plays sparingly. He returns for a second junior season in 2021 and, with Perry off to the NFL, he plays more. Then a few more guys leave and he returns in 2022 to play even more.