32 days to Camp Rantoul
Counting down the 50 most important Illini
No. 32: Justin DuVernois, P
Why he’s important: Already has cracked the top 10 in school history for career punt yardage (7,183 has him ninth). Another season like the one he produced in 2012, and he could find himself chasing Steve Fitts’ all-time mark of 10,671 yards. Of course, that scenario would most likely lend itself to a disappointing season by the Illini if DuVernois is counted on to punt that much. The fourth-year starter punted 51 times last season, the fewest of his career so far at Illinois, but amassed a productive 41.1 yards per punt. He landed almost one-fourth of his punts inside the 20-yard line, which is what every punter is trying to accomplish. Most importantly, DuVernois has not had any of his 177 career punt attempts blocked. Illinois fans have come to expect a shanked punt every now and then from DuVernois, but he was mostly consistent last season. Another solid year should give Illinois confidence if and when DuVernois trots out on the field.
Fast fact: The Donovan McNabb fan had a chance to showcase his arm last season. His first career pass attempt at Illinois didn’t end well, though. DuVernois tried to throw on the run during a fake punt in the fourth quarter against Indiana last November, but the pass fell short of its intended target, Evan Wilson.
Tomorrow: No. 32
No. 33: DeJazz Woods