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