Illinois offensive lineman Jordyn Slaughter isn’t a household name for the Fighting Illini’s offensive line. At least not yet anyway.

The fifth-year junior has seen his role expand throughout the first 3 games of the season. Week by week, Slaughter’s rep count has increased drastically from being a depth piece in the trenches to one of the more versatile offensive linemen on staff.

Slaughter played in 19 snaps last week in place of Crisler at left guard. The week prior, he started against Indiana at left guard after starter Isaiah Adams was forced to move to left tackle due to injuries. Julian Pearl, who started last week in the Illini’s win over Virginia, was pulled in the third quarter for precautionary reasons. Slaughter filled in for the final 39 snaps.

Slaughter missed the entire 2021 season due to an ankle injury suffered during fall camp. A year later, he’s become a staple of the Illinois offensive line. And while he isn’t a full-time starter, Slaughter is viewed as a vital piece of the offense.

“I think he’s embraced kind of his new shot at football,” Miller said. “I think he’s having fun playing the game again and knows it can be taken away at any minute, unfortunately. I think he’s just making the most of the opportunity, so I’m just very proud of him.”

Illinois will return to the football field on Sept. 22 to face Chattanooga at home.