Former Illini and their Super Bowl dreams

Former Illini and their Super Bowl dreams

Root for the Patriots and the 49ers if you want to see former Illini in this season's Super Bowl. A look at the four remaining:

Tavon Wilson
New England Patriots
Rookie cornerback/safety

His role: The surprise second-round pick is the Patriots’ third safety and plays in their nickel and dime packages and is a mainstay on special teams.
His highlight (until now): Soft-spoken DB (makes Bill Belichick happy) picked off Tennessee’s Jake Locker in his first NFL game — one of four picks this season to go along with six passes defended while playing about 45 percent of the defensive snaps.
If he makes it to New Orleans: Wilson is quiet and plays for the Patriots. Chances are he’ll be holed up in a hotel room with his playbook.

Brandon Lloyd
New England Patriots
10th-year receiver

His role: Tom Brady’s favorite target — his 74 catches and 911 yards trail only Wes Welker — is New England’s top option to stretch the field.
His highlight (until now): Illinois folks fell in love with his smile and personality in Champaign, and Lloyd’s touchdown grab in Week 4 — one of four this season – provided one of the year’s top images as he was photographed grinning ear-to-ear while diving for a pass in a win at Buffalo.
If he makes it to New Orleans: His single “She All Mine” made the Billboard R&B chart, so he’s likely to hit one of the city’s many jazz clubs.

Michael Hoomanawanui
New England Patriots
Third-year tight end

His role: His last name means “patience,” and the special teams contributor has been that and gets a chance to start as the No. 2 tight end with season-ending injury to star Rob Gronkowski.
His highlight (until now): Primarily a blocking tight end, “Illinois Mike” caught five balls thrown to him from Brady (21.3 yards per reception), catching a career-best 41-yarder against San Francisco last month in one of his six starts.
If he makes it to New Orleans: There’s a good chance he’s getting some more ink honoring his Hawaiian heritage at Electric Ladyland Tattoos.

A.J. Jenkins
San Francisco 49ers
Rookie receiver

His role: First-round pick drew ire of Jim Harbaugh for coming to camp out of shape, and with crowded receiver corps, Jenkins has only been active for four games, including last week’s win.
His highlight (until now): Though he wasn’t targeted last week in the 49ers’ divisional-round win against Green Bay, that Jenkins, who has yet to catch an NFL pass, got on the field with a coach who doesn’t like to play rookies was a feat.
If he makes it to New Orleans: Jenkins likes to party, and if he’s not a part of the game plan, pick anywhere on Bourbon Street and he’s there.

Categories (3):Illini Sports, Football, Sports

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