Counting down the 50 most important Illini
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No. 10: Hugh Thornton, offensive lineman.
Why he's important: Last time we saw the senior, he was playing offensive tackle. Actually, he was wearing a purple jersey that means no practice. But the undisclosed injury doesn't appear to be serious and he is expected to be in the lineup against Western Michigan. The big question remains "Where?" The coaches have insisted they will line up the five best guys against the Broncos. If that means moving Thornton back to tackle, a position he played as a freshmen, then they won't hesitate to do it. Thornton is comfortable at the two guard and two tackle spots. It will all help him as he pursues an NFL career. The pro scouts love guys who are able to move from spot to spot and Thornton is showing both his ability and willingness to do it. Along with Graham Pocic, Thornton is a leader of the youthful offensive linemen. And he quickly become attached to new offensive line coach Luke Butkus, who has what Thornton wants: A Big Ten championship ring.
Fast fact: Though he finished his high school career in Ohio, Thornton spent the bulk of his high school career in Boise, Idaho. He was a two-time state heavyweight wrestling champion in Idaho.
Tomorrow: No. 9