36 days to Camp Rantoul
Counting down the 50 most important Illini.
No. 36: Devin Church, RB/WR
Why he’s important: If Josh Ferguson goes down with an injury and Donovonn Young doesn’t produce, hello Devin Church. The redshirt sophomore didn’t see the field that much last season. Illinois was trying to determine whether he was better suited for the backfield or out wide as a slot receiver. He may still catch a few passes this fall since offensive coordinator Bill Cubit is a fan of throwing to running backs, but he could see his carries increase. That’s not exactly saying much since he had eight carries for 44 yards and one touchdown last season, all coming in the first month of the season during three nonconference games at Memorial Stadium. He was part of the offensive surge against Miami (Ohio), scampering for 34 yards on six carries and a 12-yard touchdown run. Church was the featured back on the Blue team during the spring game, and finished with 22 rushing yards on eight carries running behind an offensive line featuring starters and backups. He could factor significantly into the offensive plans in 2015 and 2016, but don’t expect him in a featuredd role this fall.
Fast fact: Originally a Northern Illinois commit, Church decommitted from Huskies late in process to become part of Tim Beckman’s first recruiting class at Illinois. The Southfield, Mich., native is on his third number with the Illini. He’ll don No. 23 this season after wearing both 21 and 32 last season.
Last year’s ranking: N/A
Tomorrow: No. 35
No. 37: Tyrin Stone-Davis