28 days to Camp Rantoul
Counting down the 50 most important Illini.
No. 28: Caleb Day, DB
Why he’s important: Top defensive recruit in the Class of 2013 had a bit of a rough time adjusting to college game last fall. Initially thought to play safety at Illinois, Tim Beckman worked him in with the cornerbacks. Day saw spot playing time, competing with V’Angelo Bentley, Eaton Spence, Darius Mosely and Jaylen Dunlap to see the field. Day only appeared in eight games last season and didn’t make a start, but played in the final seven games. He finished with only nine tackles and no takeaways, but had an impressive spring. How he fares during practices on campus and at Camp Rantoul could go a long way whether Day beats out Spence to claim a starting cornerback role. Or the coaches may feel he’s better suited to play at safety this season, which could increase competition for Taylor Barton. Either way, Day’s presence should increase this season.
Fast fact: The native of Hilliard, Ohio, wore No. 7 at the beginning of last season only to switch to No. 16 at the midway point. Day is back at No. 7 this season and should stay there. Illinois made the number switch because wide receiver Martize Barr wore No. 7 last season, too, and two players with the same number can’t be on the field at the same time. Illinois ran into that situation on special teams last year. With incoming freshman quarterback Chayce Crouch wearing No. 7 and Barr having switched to No. 9, the same dilemma shouldn’t pop up this fall.
Last year’s ranking: No. 37
Tomorrow: No. 27
No. 29: Eaton Spence