Counting down the 50 most important Illini
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No. 29: Ted Karras, offensive lineman.
Why he's important: Part of a famous football family that includes great uncle Alex and grandfather Ted, the redshirt freshman has continued the tradition at Illinois. He didn't waste his freshman season, showing the former staff he was ready to play after sitting out. Tim Beckman's staff likes him just as much. He figures to be an opening day starter at guard, although there could be changes made on the line. His new line coach, Luke Butkus, understands the whole "famous family" thing, following uncle Dick to Illinois. Pleasant off the field, Karras apparently has a nasty streak in games. And that's part of what the coaches are looking for as they piece together the best five-player unit. Karras will get better and could become a force in the latter stages of his career.
Fast fact: Rated among the nation's top offensive guards as a high school senior at Indianapolis Cathedral, Karras picked the Illini over UCLA, Iowa State, Indiana and others.
Tomorrow: No. 28