46 days to Camp Rantoul

46 days to Camp Rantoul

Counting down the 50 most important Illini

No. 46: Matt LaCosse, tight end

Why he’s important: New offensive coordinator Bill Cubit likes tight ends. Really, he does. Even if you keep waiting for Illinois to utilize tight ends more than they have in the recent past. LaCosse had to miss some time during spring ball with an injury, but he did triple his reception total in 2012 from 2011. Of course, that meant he caught three passes instead of one. He’s a steady blocker, which could play a key role when Illinois lines up under center this season since Illinois truly doesn’t have a fullback. He’s a steady special teams contributor, too, having made seven tackles in his career, plus he provides leadership from having played quarterback at Naperville North.

Fast fact: If LaCosse drops knowledge this winter on how to stifle Northwestern point guard Dave Sobolewski or Wisconsin big man Frank Kaminsky on the basketball court, take notice. LaCosse and Naperville North nearly pull off a stunning upset during a Class 4A regional championship game in 2011 before Sobolewski and Kaminsky helped Benet Academy held on for a 43-42 double-overtime win despite 12 points from LaCosse.

Tomorrow: No. 45