12 days to Camp Rantoul

12 days to Camp Rantoul

Counting down the 50 most important Illini 

No. 12: Matt LaCosse, TE

Why he’s important: After only catching four passes his first two seasons with the Illini, former Naperville North quarterback broke out last fall. LaCosse teams with Jon Davis to give Illinois offensive coordinator Bill Cubit a nice duo to utilize at tight end. LaCosse made nine starts last year, hauling in 20 passes for 237 yards and three touchdowns, and played in all 12 games. His performance against Miami (Ohio) last season — three catches for 68 yards and two TDs — brought him some notoriety and attention, along with showcasing his skill set. His size (6-foot-6, 250 pounds) is a bonus, and his athleticism should not be taken for granted. He didn’t catch a pass against either Michigan State or Northwestern last season, and steady contributions during Big Ten play would give Illinois an added option in the passing game. He missed most of spring practices while recovering from an ankle injury and didn’t suit up during the spring game. Another shy of what he produced last season would constitute a disappointing season for LaCosse, who found his way onto the College Football Performance Awards Tight End Trophy watch list in mid-July.

Fast fact: Former Illinois quarterback turned wide receiver Miles Osei attempted two passes last season on trick plays. The one he completed fell into the arms of LaCosse for a 35-yard gain in the fourth quarter against Washington. The pass set up an eventual 10-yard touchdown run by Aaron Bailey that cut Illinois’ deficit to 31-24 against the Huskies. 

Last year’s ranking: No. 46

Tomorrow: No. 11

Previous rankings
No. 13: Geronimo Allison 

No. 14: Zane Petty

No. 15: Jon Davis

No. 16: Martize Barr

No. 17: Austin Teitsma

No. 18: Dawuane Smoot

No. 19: Kenny Nelson

No. 20: Justin Hardee

No. 21: Taylor Barton

No. 22: Donovonn Young

No. 23: Michael Heitz

No. 24: Alex Hill

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