Counting down the 50 most important Illini
No. 13: Austin Teitsma, defensive tackle
Why he’s important: Defensive coordinator Tim Banks will want to use multiple looks at opposing offenses this fall. But he’ll still need an interior lineman. Which is where Teitsma fits in. The former Glenbard South product will have an increased role for Illinois in 2013 than he has in the past. The junior has never started a game for the Illini, but his No. 44 will most likely be lined up against a center or guard when Southern Illinois visits Memorial Stadium on Aug. 31. Teitsma made 15 tackles last year in a reserve role, compiling a half-sack, and forced a fumble at Northwestern. The 22-year-old is one of the goofiest personalities on the team, which could play a part in the team chemistry Tim Beckman and other players have talked about improving this season. Teitsma had a strong spring game, racking up seven tackles and three sacks. He showed a constant presence in the backfield. Whether that was a byproduct of weak offensive line play by Illinois or development by Teitsma will sort itself out this season.
Fast fact: Teitsma has put on nearly 50 pounds since his arrival at Illinois, which he chosed instead of offers from Ball State, Central Michigan, Indiana and Northern Illinois.
Tomorrow: No. 12