BREAKING: Epstein out for season
September 2, 2019
Illinois head coach Lovie Smith announced Monday junior running back Mike Epstein will miss the remainder of the season due to a knee injury.
The Fort Lauderdale, Florida-native returned from an injury which caused him to miss the final five games of the 2018 season, after previously having missed the final seven games of the 2017 season due to injury as well.
While a third season-ending injury is never good news, tailback is by far the deepest position on the Illinois roster, as the loss of Epstein will open things up for promising backs Jakari Norwood, Dre brown and Ra’Von Bonner to get more carries behind senior Reggie Corbin, who is also battling a slight injury problem, although it is not viewed as serious per Smith at his Monday Press Conference.
Epstein’s health struggles bring back thoughts of another Mike that was recently a part of the Illini program, receiver Mike Dudek. The talented pass-catcher just could not stay on the field after a breakout 2014 true freshman season. Dudek would go on to miss all of 2015, 2016, parts of 2017 and most of 2018, a path that Epstein’s is, unfortunately, beginning to resemble.
It is unknown at this time whether or not Epstein will get a redshirt and retain two years of eligibility or become a true senior in 2020.