16 days to Western Michigan
Counting down the 50 most important Illini
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No. 16: Ashanti Williams, star.
Why he's important: With Ta'Jarvis Fuller out for an extended time with a broken hand, his play becomes critical. He made three starts in 2011 at basically the same position. He recorded a career-best 21 tackles during the 2011 season. Williams is looking for his first career interception and given the amount of time he should see on the field, a pick or two seems likely. He is playing a cross between linebacker and safety. His responsibilities include run support and pass coverage. He played well in the spring and the coaches are counting on him to have the best year of his career.
Fast fact: Give the former Ohio standout credit for hanging in there. A year ago, he was suspended from the team and it appeared his career might be over. But he stayed with the team, was reinstated and helped when Trulon Henry missed time at the end of the season.
Tomorrow: No. 15