Dustin Schutte | 20 days ago
Illinois running back Mike Epstein has made a decision on his future with the program.
Bob Asmussen of The News-Gazette reported this weekend that Epstein is heading back to Champaign to spend another season with the Fighting Illini. His return provides Illinois with depth and experience at the running back position.
Epstein joins a loaded backfield that includes Chase Brown, Chase Hayden, Jakari Norwood and Reggie Love. It could be one of the team’s deepest position groups in Bret Bielema’s first year.
Throughout the course of his career, Epstein has struggled to stay healthy and complete a full season. Injuries were thought to play a big role in his decision on whether or not to return, but the running back will give it another year in Champaign.
During his career at Illinois, Epstein has rushed for 1,169 yards and 10 touchdowns and also has 174 yards and a touchdown on 16 receptions. Last season, he totaled 367 yards and a 4 touchdowns on the ground while carrying the ball 69 times.
Epstein has maintained a 6.0 yards per carry average over his career, playing in a total of 20 games and totaling 194 carries.
Illinois is scheduled to open the 2021 season at home against B1G West foe Nebraska on Saturday, Aug. 28. It will be a Week 0 matchup.