15 days to Camp Rantoul
Counting down the 50 most important Illini.
No. 15: Jon Davis, TE
Why he’s important: Pairs nicely with Matt LaCosse to give Illinois two versatile tight ends. Davis, who should be ready to go for the start of preseason practice after a dislocated elbow could line up with his hand down along the offensive line, split out wide like a receiver or in the backfield. The senior avoided costly injuries last fall and put together his most productive season with the Illini, hauling in 25 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns. He added 36 rushing yards on nine carries in a miniscule role, with most of those rushing yards coming in nonconference play. His 11-yard touchdown catch against Southern Illinois right before halftime in the opener proved critical once the Salukis made the game close at the end, and his acrobatic 29-yard catch along the sidelines at Purdue set up Illinois’ first touchdown against the Boilermakers. He likely won’t end his career with his name next to Doug Dieken, Tim Brewster or Ken Dilger on the school’s all-time career receiving yards by a tight end, but with another solid season, Davis should wind up on the Top 10 list for most career receiving yards. He’s only 174 yards from reaching that milestone.
Fast fact: Kentucky hasn’t exactly produced a hotbed of recruiting for Illinois. Only six players, including Davis, have earned a letter with the Illini. The Class of 2011 signee — who flipped to Illinois on national signing day after staying committed to his home-state Wildcats for more than a year — is the only Kentucky product on the Illini roster this fall.
Last year’s ranking: No. 11
Tomorrow: No. 14
No. 16: Martize Barr