24 days to Camp Rantoul

24 days to Camp Rantoul

Counting down the 50 most important Illini

No. 24: Alex Hill, OL

Why he’s important: Returning starter on the offensive line should have responsibilty of snapping the ball to either Wes Lunt, Reilly O’Toole or Aaron Bailey. He started all 12 games last season for the Illini, with the first nine at center. He then shifted to left guard for the final three games with the emergence of Jake Feldmeyer at center, along with injuries and inconsistent play from Michael Heitz at the left guard position. The fifth-year senior from Louisiana has taken on more of a vocal role this offseason and brings an added measure of experience to a unit stacked with just that. Hill can help incoming freshman Nick Allegretti learn the ins and outs of the position, grooming the Lincoln-Way East product for this spot possibly in the 2015 season. Hill will need to avoid costly penalties which surfaced last season at inopportune times against Michigan State and Penn State. Both miscues cost Illinois touchdowns, but he was a key linchpin last season for Illini’s improved play along the offensive line — and will need to keep making progress this season again.   

Fast fact: After earning a degree in communications in May, Hill — who has a 4-year-old daughter named Jordyn — plans to earn a second bachelor’s degree in sociology next May before he gets married next summer to Mariah Smith, a thrower on the Illinois women’s track and field team.

Last year’s ranking: No. 27

Tomorrow: No. 23

Previous rankings
No. 25: Jihad Ward

No. 26: Austin Schmidt

No. 27: Mikey Dudek

No. 28: Caleb Day

No. 29: Eaton Spence

No. 30: Mike Svetina

No. 31: Darius Mosely

No. 32: Justin DuVernois

No. 33: DeJazz Woods

No. 34: Taylor Zalewski

No. 35: Jaylen Dunlap

No. 36: Devin Church

No. 37: Tyrin Stone-Davis

No. 38: Paul James

No. 39: Jarrod Clements

No. 40: Joe Spencer

No. 41: Ralph Cooper

No. 42: B.J. Bello

No. 43: Jake Howe

No. 44: Joe Fotu

No. 45: Tyler White

No. 46: Zach Hirth

No. 47: Eric Finney

No. 48: Zeph Grimes

No. 49: Carroll Phillips

No. 50: Clayton Fejedelem

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