Is Michael Trigg Hinting At A Double-Duty Illini Fans Haven’t Seen In 70 Years?

Matthew Stevens

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Michael Trigg has announced he’d like to try to do something at the University of Illinois that hasn’t been done in over 70 years.

Trigg, one of the nation’s top football prospects in the 2021 recruiting class, announced the Illini football program as one of his top 10 schools one month ago. Illinois was among college football powerhouses as LSU, Ohio State, Auburn, Penn State and Southern California. The reason for the inclusion of the Illini program is while the Tampa, Fla., native is being considered the fourth-highest highest tight end in the 2021 class by, the 6-foot-4 athlete is also considered a three-star prospect by all online recruiting services on the basketball court.

Trigg has made it clear to any media member and college coach that will listen that he’d like to try both sports, which have their regular seasons overlap in November, December at the collegiate level. And some, including Illinois, are listening and taking this request more than seriously.

On Sunday, Illinois officially offered Trigg an athlete scholarship with the opportunity to try both sports early in his college career. Reportedly basketball powers Kentucky, LSU and Memphis are among other Power Five Conference programs such as Southern California, Auburn, South Carolina and Alabama have made the same dual-sport offer.

Trigg is declaring he’d like to try to be the first Illinois star on the football field and basketball court since Dike Eddleman earned 11 letters at the school that included football, basketball and track in 1947-49. Eddleman is in the Illinois athletics Hall of Fame, on the All-Century team in basketball and considered the greatest and most accomplished athlete in Illini history. In his Illinois playing career, Eddleman played in the NCAA Final Four, participated in a Rose Bowl and tied for second in the high jump during the 1948 Summer Olympics.

Trigg, who has announced he will transfer from Seffner Christian Academy to Carrollwood Duffy for his senior year of high school, was an all-state football and basketball selection in the 2019 campaign. At Seffner Christian, Trigg caught 82 passes as a tight end for 1,232 yards and scored 16 touchdowns but he wasn’t limited by being a target in the passing game. Trigg rushed for 196 yards on 56 carries and completed 24 passes as a wildcat quarterback. Trigg also played on Seffner Christian’s defensive line and earned 83 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and two forced fumbles as a pass rusher.

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2021 four-star tight end prospect Michael Trigg during his ovisit to Florida State on Feb. 2, 2020.Wayne McGahee III/Tallahassee Democrat

Trigg would be considered the perfect replacement for Luke Ford at tight end whenever the former four-star recruit from Carterville and Georgia transfer decides to leave the Illini program. Ford, who has yet to play a single down for Illinois, is expected to be a difference maker in the upcoming 2020 season but can leave for NFL aspirations at any point after this fourth-year junior season.

On the basketball floor for Seffner Christian, Trigg averaged 22.5 points per game, six rebounds and 4.5 assists. If he were to focus just on basketball, he would be considered an adequate athletic replacement for Da’Monte Williams, who will be graduating after this upcoming 2020-21 season, at the ‘3’ wing position of head coach Brad Underwood’s system.

The interesting thing about Trigg’s mission could be Illinois could be one of the few schools pursuing him to do both where the athletics department would be more than pleased if he decided to ditch his football dreams for a basketball future.

Either way, it’ll be an interesting test case if Underwood and Illini football head coach Lovie Smith can work together on the recruitment of an athlete who has the potential and internal drive to attempt a double-dip that hasn’t been effective at Illinois in over seven decades.