3 days to Camp Rantoul
Counting down the 50 most important Illini.
No. 3: Josh Ferguson, RB
Why he’s important: The Joliet Catholic product led Illinois in rushing yards last season (779) and has the most receiving yards (535) from last season of any returning player the Illini have. No other player in the Big Ten can boast about those accomplishments. Outside of Nathan Scheelhaase, no other offensive player benefitted more from Bill Cubit’s system in 2013. Fully healthy all season, Ferguson wrested the starting job away from Donovonn Young by the midway point of last season, and will start the season as the starter. Without a doubt. Ferguson was dangerous in the screen game last season, but also showed he was capable of lining out wide and running a vertical route with the best of any wide receiver Illinois had in 2013. Staying healthy is again key for Ferguson, who could become the first 1,000-yard rusher for Illinois since Mikel Leshoure set the single-season standard of 1,697 yards in 2010.
Fast fact: If the NFL doesn’t work out for the all-purpose back, the kinesiology major wants to become a trainer who helps keep athletes healthy and in shape. He has experience being that he missed the final 10 games of the 2011 season with a hamstring injury.
Last year’s ranking: No. 14
Tomorrow: No. 2
No. 4: Mason Monheim