Lovie Smith wasted no time investing in the future at Illinois.
During Smith's second season as head football coach in 2017, the Illini started four freshmen on the offensive line. Prospect grad Alex Palczewski was the first of the true freshmen to get the starting nod that year, in Week 2 against Western Kentucky. He probably would have started the season opener against Ball State if not for a high ankle sprain.
"It was unbelievable seeing all the people and thinking about a year ago at that time, I was playing at Prospect High School with maybe a few hundred people there," Palczewski said.
Center Doug Kramer from Hinsdale Central was the "veteran" of the group since he was a redshirt freshman, not a true freshman, when he joined the lineup. The other freshman starters were left tackle Vederian Lowe, who now has 22 career starts, and guard ... READ FULL STORY