Former Illini player and coach Jerrance Howard celebrates a birthday on Wednesday.
Illini Legends, Lists & Lore: Dennis Stallings
Dennis Stallings, one of Fighting Illini football’s best all-time linebackers, celebrates his 39th birthday today. A letter winner from 1994-96, the former East St. Louis High School standout replaced 1994 Butkus Award winner Dana Howard as Illinois’ starter his junior season. Stallings stepped up to ably fill the shoes of Howard, starting all 11 games and finishing third in the Big Ten with nearly 12 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss per game. He teamed with Kevin Hardy, the 1995 Butkus Award winner, and future All-Pro Simeon Rice to form the Conference’s best defensive trio. As a senior in 1996, Stallings recorded 133 tackles to lead the Illini, including a near school-record 13 solo tackles against Indiana that season. He earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors in his final season. In his final two years at Illinois, Stallings compiled 265 tackles. He was drafted by the Tennessee Oilers in the sixth round of the 1997 NFL Draft, playing two seasons with the Oilers and appearing in 29 professional games. Currently, Stallings is a national sales executive for Coca Cola Refreshments in Memphis, Tenn.
Sunday: Sue Nucci, volleyball (40)
Monday: Trayvon Waller, football (34)
Tuesday: John Lopez, football (53)
Wednesday: Jerrance Howard, basketball (33)
Thursday: Daren McDonough, track & field (39)
Friday: Kevin Turner, basketball (37)
Saturday: Jenna Hall, softball (29)
By Mike Pearson, author of Illini Legends, Lists & Lore and assistant
athletic director at Miami (Ohio)
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