The 90 Illini #47: Jake Feldmeyer July 16, 2012
6′-4″, 280 lbs.
Junior (on scholarship, 2 years to play 2)
Centerville HS / Centerville, Ohio
ALE Ranking last year: #48
ALE Ranking in 2010: #65
What I Know About Him:
This is the year for Feldmeyer. Redshirt junior year is put-up or shut-up. There have been many Illini offensive linemen that sank or swam in their redshirt junior year. Eric Block didn’t play much his first three years (besides some kinda sorta important plays when Martin O’Donnell got injured on the 8-minute drive at Ohio State and Eric Block had to come in), but in Block’s redshirt junior year, he was a part-time starter who eventually started as a senior. Different paths, but similar stories exist for Randall Hunt and Jack Cornell. Not much for three years, but then Camp Rantoul of junior season they make their move.
Others have faded. Guys like Ryan Sedlacek never found the field and left the team. Some completed their redshirt junior season (4th year), graduated, and didn’t return to the team for their 5th year. So for Feldmeyer, this is probably the year to make a move.
And I’m pulling for him. I sat next to his parents at the Rantoul Scrimmage in 2010. If you want to get me to pull for a player, sit me next to his parents, get me to watch mom bite her nails when he enters the game, and I’m all in. He snapped a shotgun snap over Jacob Charest’s head during the scrimmage, Paul Petrino lit him up (you could hear it in the stands), and mom and dad’s shoulders sank. Great – just retelling the story has me hoping against hope that Feldmeyer beats out Pocic this year (fat chance).
What I Expect From Him:
I’m not sure how Luke Butkus will use his interior linemen, so it’s hard to say right now if Feldmeyer will be slotted at center or if he’ll be tried at all three interior positions. Common wisdom right now has Thornton-Pocic-Karras starting on the inside, with Tyler Sands as the fourth man and Alex Hill pushing for minutes. That leaves Feldmeyer in a battle with redshirt-freshman Tony Durkin to be Graham Pocic’s backup at center.
But something the coaches said after the Spring Game might be good news for Feldmeyer. They said that they’ll find the best five linemen for the Western Michigan game, and that might not be the positions they’re playing right now (read: if sophomore tackles Michael Heitz and Simon Cvijanovic aren’t cutting it, you could see Hugh Thornton or even Graham Pocic move out to tackle). If that happens, that’s a lot of interior minutes up for grabs. Which would be very good news for Feldmeyer. If Pocic does move outside to tackle (it’s doubtful, but possible), Feldmeyer could go from “who?” to starting center in an instant. Look ma, starting center!