Auburn DE Gimel President transfers to Illinois

Illini add much-needed depth to defensive line rotation with Auburn transfer

March 1 UPDATE: Illinois officially announced the addition of Gimel President on Tuesday after he signed a tender of financial aid.

"President is a terrific addition to our defensive line," Illini head coach Bill Cubit said in a statement. "He has played at a high level while in the SEC and will make an immediate contribution when he steps on the field. We're excited about the added maturity that he will bring to what already may be our deepest position on the defensive side of the ball."

Feb. 24: A source close to the Illinois football program confirmed that Auburn defensive end Gimel President will transfer to Illinois. President, a fifth-year senior, will be eligible to play immediately at Illinois due to the NCAA graduate transfer rule.

President, a former three-star recruit out of Mt. Pleasant (S.C) Waldo, visted Illinois earlier this month and gave a commitment to Illinois on Wednesday.

The 6-foot-4, 265-pound defensive end played in 25 games at Auburn, totaling 45 tackles, 3.0 sacks and 7.0 tackles for loss. He started nine games in 2014 but fell to a reserve role last season.

Auburn and Illinois basically made a trade. President heads to Illinois, while former Illinois linebacker T.J. Neal, also a fifth-year transfer, heads to Auburn. Neal, a two-year starter, had 109 tackles last season.

President adds much-needed depth on the defensive line. Despite the loss of Jihad Ward -- a possible first- or second-round pick in the NFL Draft -- Illinois returns four players with starting experience: DE Carroll Phillips, DE Dawuane Smoot, DT Jarrod "Chunky" Clements and Rob Bain. But the Illini have a dearth of ready-to-play depth at defensive end.

Rising junior DE Henry McGrew had seven tackles last season, and  Class of 2016 recruits Tymir Oliver and Izon Pulley won't arrive until the summer.

Illinois still has two scholarships available for the fall. Wide receiver is a position likely to be filled by a high school prospect or transfer.

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