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Preseason Scouting Notes: Josh Imatorbhebhe, WR, Illinois

Redshirt Senior | 6’2” 215 lbs | Suwanee, GA | April 12, 1998

 

A reliable receiver with above average size, good physicality, and ball tracking ability

 

Overview:

Imatorbhebhe began his career at USC and transferred into the Illini program in 2019 after struggling to find a role in the Trojan offense. He made an immediate impact in Champaign, falling one touchdown short of tying the school’s single season record with nine. As the leading receiver in every category for the Illini in 2019, Imatorbhebhe will once again be the top target for quarterback Brandon Peters. His performance in his first season earned him honorable mention All-Big Ten, and set the stage for a potentially big-time 2020 campaign.

Strengths:

– Big Play Ability: 19.2 yards/rec and 9 TD on only 33 receptions
– Route Savvy: can find soft spots in coverage and exploit them
– Ball Tracking: natural feel for judging the ball in the air
– High Poining: can go up and get passes where DBs cannot
– Contested Catch/Catch In Traffic: strong hands at the catch point
– Gains serparation via length/size and route savvy
– Strong and willing blocker
– Hard to tackle due to his size and strength
– Route Tree: best on deep routes but can run shorter routes as well

Areas To Improve:

– RAC is sufficient but has room for improvement, most yards come through the air
– Breakaway speed both in routes and after the catch
– Sharpness of cuts while running routes
– Work stems more in his routes
– Needs to get smoother in his release
– Blocking Form: tends to let hands drift outside of defender’s frame and not drive his feet

Injury Concerns:

N/A

Projection:

Imatorbhebhe has some exciting tools that could earn him a role on an NFL roster. A reliable possession receiver, he can fit well as a 3rd receiver for teams that already possess two solid options. While Illinois mostly utilizes him on deeper routes, he is effective when used on screens and crossing routes due to his strength and reliable hands. He is often the wide receiver on the backside of the play, but he will occasionally line up in the slot as well. His reliability and strength at the catch point are what can earn him an NFL nod, and he could be a solid pick up in the mid Day 3 rounds for teams that are looking to bolster the back end of their receiving core.

What To Watch In 2020:

As the leading man in the Illini receiver room, Imatorbhebhe will have all eyes on him in passing situations. With another year in the system under his belt, he could be due for an even better 2020. He will not only need to recreate his production from 2019, but build upon it with more volume than the 33 receptions he posted. In those 33 receptions, Imatorbhebhe averaged 19.2 yards per catch, and a touchdown every 4 catches. If he can keep up those production rates with more volume, 2020 will be a very special year for him. Replicating those numbers won’t be easy with defenses keying on him, but doing so when everyone in the stadium knows who the ball is going to would raise both his draft stock, and the Illini season, to new heights.

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