49 days to Camp Rantoul

Counting down the 50 most important Illini

No. 49: B.J. Bello, STAR

Why he’s important: The red-shirt freshman is an injury away from probably cracking the starting lineup. Right now, it looks like junior college transfer Eric Finney will start at the STAR position, which is a hybrid linebacker/safety spot Tim Banks will utilize with his multiple defensive formations. Bello had an impressive spring game, compiling 11 tackles for the Blue team, which tied him for game-high honors with Mike Svetina. He brings size (6-3, 205) and quickness to the position, two key attributes to have. He lacks experience, though, with the spring game his first time making an appearance inside Memorial Stadium in an actual game.

Fast fact: The Lincoln-Way West product, who qualified for the state track meet twice in Class 2A as the anchor leg of his school’s 4x400-meter relay team, originally committed to Western Michigan head coach Bill Cubit when he was leading the Broncos before reversing his decision and picking Illinois three days before National Signing Day in 2012.

Tomorrow: No. 48

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