It’s August and that means we are about a month away from the college football season kicking off. The biggest question for Illini football is whether the offense will improve from last year. Yes, the quarterback position will be a major factor in this but the quarterback will need a strong offensive line. An important piece of this unit will be the inclusion of freshman Reuben Unije who has already been on campus for a semester as an early enrollee.

Reuben has come in with quite a reputation. He was ranked as a 4-star recruit by ESPN and Rivals and had some stand out offers from programs such as Alabama, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, and UCLA among others. He’s built to play at the next level with a 6’6 frame and 290 lbs, he will greatly help an offensive line that struggled a year ago. I took sometime to catch up about how the off-season is going and what he is looking forward to at camp.


AS: How has summer been and how has weight training been?

Reuben Unije: Summer was good. The training has been also good. We’ve all worked hard, grown closer together, and have all seen remarkable results.

AS: For you personally, how many pounds of muscle do you think you have added since you’ve been on campus?

Reuben Unije: I’ve gain 22lbs of muscle and I’m at 17% body fat.

AS: How are you adjusting to life in Champaign? How are you and the teammates gelling? Also, what are you looking forward to at camp?

Reuben Unije: The adjustment has been good! I’ve been on campus for a semester already so it’s more about gelling with the freshman coming in which is going well. Also, I’m looking forward to dominating and earning my spot and seeing how the team progresses.

AS: What’s the overall vibe of this group? Does it feel like something special could happen this year?

Reuben Unije: The overall vibe I would say is dominate. This year is going to be better than last year.

AS: Who would you say are your closest friends on the team?

Reuben Unije: To be honest I would say everyone I know, they and I can hang with them at anytime and I do.

AS: One question for the fans, what do you think is a realistic goal in terms of wins this year for the team?

Reuben Unije: I’d say you’d have to come and find out.. enjoy the show!

Aarmani’s Take

I really believe this offense will be greatly improved this year and I fully expect the run game to be the beneficiary of all the hard work this offensive line will be doing in the off-season. There will be hiccups along the way but Reuben should be a big impact player on the offensive line because of his sheer size. Also, he might be more along than some of the other freshman because he’s been on campus for a longer period of time. As Reuben stated earlier “You have to come out and watch the show!”

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