27 days to Camp Rantoul
Counting down the 50 most important Illini.
No. 27: Mikey Dudek, WR
Why he’s important: Call him Mike or Mikey. He doesn’t care at this point of his college football career. Which is just getting started. The true freshman enrolled early at Illinois and impressed the coaching staff right away. By the end of spring practices, Dudek was working in with the starters at one of the slot wide receiver positions. He isn’t the biggest wideout at 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, but his ability to get open and get past defenders with his quickness stood out in March and April. A hamstring strain limited him in the spring game, causing some of the momentum he had carried with him to halt, but if No. 18 lines up wide on the first offensive series of the season against Youngstown State, you’re most likely going to see Dudek. Not punter Justin DuVernois.
Fast fact: Dudek, whose older brother, Danny, is a wide receiver at Dayton, only had one other offer before orally committing to the Illini last April. That came in form of FCS school North Dakota. He made that offer list look silly with the senior season he had at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville. Dudek flourished, catching 69 passes for 1,384 yards and 19 touchdowns for the Wildcats, who advanced to the Class 8A state quarterfinals.
Last year’s ranking: N/A
Tomorrow: No. 26
No. 28: Caleb Day