Counting down the 50 most important Illini for the 2014 season.
Counting down the 50 most important Illini
No. 39: Jarrod Clements, DL
Why he’s important: He should find himself in the mix for playing time along the defensive line. Illinois moved him back and forth at times last year from defensive tackle to defensive end, but defensive tackle is where he should find a home for the next three seasons. He didn’t redshirt last year because the coaches felt he had enough talent to play. While he didn’t start, he appeared in 10 games, making four tackles, including one for loss. The Class of 2013 recruit missed more than half his senior season at Trotwood-Madison (Ohio) High School with a knee injury, so he showed enough in practice for Illinois to trust him during Big Ten play. He likely won’t crack the starting lineup at the beginning of the season, but could find himself a fixture along the defensive line during the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
Fast fact: The player who teammates and coaches refer to as Chunky, Clements isn’t bad at basketball either. The Ohio native helped Dayton Dunbar High School — where he played at before spending his senior season at Trotwood-Madison — to a Division II state championship in 2012.
Last year’s ranking: NA
Tomorrow: No. 38
No. 40: Joe Spencer 
No. 44: Joe Fotu 
No. 48: Zeph Grimes