Illinois coach Bret Bielema updates status of RB Mike Epstein
Illinois running back Mike Epstein is currently not with the Illini as they go through spring practice, coach Bret Bielema said Wednesday.
That news was shared via Illini Inquirer’s Jeremy Werner. Bielema told Werner that Epstein is at home in Florida while “he’s working through some things medically.”
“I like Mike as much as a player I’ve never met,” Bielema said told the Illini Inquirer. “I’ve had a lot of success recruiting St. Thomas Aquinas, so as soon as I got this job, I heard from his high school coaches right away. I reached out to him and had several conversations with him and his family, just trying to steer him as best as possible.
“Whether or not he returns in the fall is strictly in his hands. I’ve invited him back and told him we’d love to have him be a part of the team. It’s just really not in my position to comment on it but also put in his hands on what he wants to do.”
Epstein has had an injury-plagued career in Champaign. He’s played in just 20 games over a four-year span with the Illini, rushing for 1,169 yards during that time. He also has 10 career touchdowns with Illinois.
Illinois is likely to have depth at the position regardless of what Epstein decides. The Illini return Chase Brown, who rushed for 540 yards on 104 carries last season. They also picked up ECU transfer Chase Hayden this offseason.