Counting down the 50 most important Illini
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No. 48: Austin Teitsma, defensive tackle.
Why he's important: While the starting line is pretty much set, led by Akeem Spence and Michael Buchanan, first-year defensive coordinator Tim Banks and position coach Keith Gilmore need to find quality snaps among the reserves. The sophomore from Glenbard South has the brains (Academic All-Big Ten) and attitude to be one of the contributors. What he lacks in size, Teitsma makes up for with tenacity. He also has an infectious personality that will help him on the field and in the film room. He played in seven games as a redshirt freshman, recording three tackles. That experience, albeit limited, will help.
Fast fact: If he feels like killing some time in the winter, he can go help out Jim Heffernan's Illini wrestling team. He was state runner-up at heavyweight one season and finished 35-1 in another, losing in the quarterfinals. He was also a state qualifier in track.
Tomorrow: No. 47