Counting down the 50 most important Illini
No. 32: Jake Howe, defensive tackle
Why he’s important: Tim Banks will likely count on the junior to start at one of the two defensive tackle spots. The defensive coordinator won’t have much to go on aside from what he has seen on the practice field. Howe broke his hand against Penn State last year, ruining any hopes he had of a productive 2012 season. He didn’t record any tackles in the five games he played in last year in a reserve role. He’ll likely line up alongside Austin Teitsma in the starting lineup this fall. Howe recorded two tackles in the spring game, which is the same amount he has in his career after making two tackles during the 2011 while mainly in a special teams role. His role will increase this season, and if he can avoid an injury like he sustained last year, could develop into a solid interior lineman for Tim Beckman’s team.
Fast fact: Howe has put on nearly 35 pounds since arriving at Illinois from McHenry, where he picked Illinois in favor of Arizona and Wisconsin about a week before Signing Day in 2010.
Tomorrow: No. 31