Counting down the 50 most important Illini
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No. 13: Ryan Lankford, receiver/punter.
Why he's important: With the departure of A.J. Jenkins to the NFL, somebody has to help make up for some of his 90 catches. Lankford won't get them all, but should be able to greatly improve upon his 12 catches from a year ago. He has good on-field chemistry with quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, who has confidence the Floridian will come down with the ball. Lankford is expected to start the opener with Spencer Harris and Darius Millines at the other spots. He also could be a factor in the punting game. He had 19 rugby-style boots in 2011 and was at his best in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.
Fast fact: As a prep athlete in Florida, the Jacksonville native was one of the state's top track athletes. His best events were the 100 meters and long jump.
Tomorrow: No. 12