33 days to Camp Rantoul
Counting down the 50 most important Illini.
No. 33: DeJazz Woods, LEO
Why he’s important: Spent spring ball trying to impress the coaches so he could find himself with a starting spot this fall. He likely didn’t do enough to push past Dawuane Smoot, however, and will have to contend with Carroll Phillips once practices roll around in August. Woods backed up Houston Bates last season, racking up 17 tackles in 12 games. He didn’t get a start last season, but his production was the most he’d seen at Illinois so far during his career. Expect him to have a similar type of role, along with working on special teams, this year as he adds another component to help with depth along the defensive line. The fifth-year senior brings experience and leadership to the defensive line, attributes that might come into play more than what he can bring out on the field.
Fast fact: Woods has more fellow Illini who can relate to his hometown of Tampa. He was the only Tampa native on the team last season, but junior college wide receiver Geronimo Allison and incoming freshman linebacker Tre Watson both hail from the city that plays home to the Buccaneers.
Last year’s ranking: No. 38
Tomorrow: No. 32
No. 34: Taylor Zalewski