Top 50 most important Illini No. 14: Jamal Milan, DL

Top 50 most important Illini No. 14: Jamal Milan, DL

Why he's important: Jamal Milan was a surprise addition to Illinois' 2015 recruiting class when he signed on National Signing Day. The Chicago native and Al Raby product didn't get a chance to show what he could do that year, suffering a leg injury in the season-opening game against Kent State and missing the rest of the season. The 6-foot-3, 300-pound defensive tackle got that opportunity last season, even if he went into the fall third on the depth chart behind Chunky Clements and Rob Bain. Milan ultimately played in 10 games, making five starts, and finished the year with 27 tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. Milan's ability to bottle up the run will be key this coming season, and if he can be disruptive and force a few turnovers more the better in Lovie Smith's defensive scheme.

Fast fact: Milan is one of three former Al Raby players in college football. Chris Covington is a senior linebacker at Indiana, while Malik Haynes is a sophomore defensive lineman at Southern Illinois.

Last year's ranking: No. 28

Previous rankings: No. 50, DL Kendrick Green; No. 49, QB Cam Miller; No. 48, DB James Knight; No. 47, DL Lere Oladipo; No. 46, LB Jake Hansen; No. 45, RB Austin Roberts; No. 44, QB Trenard Davis; No. 43, RB Mike Epstein; No. 42, TE Griffin Palmer; No. 41, DB Frank Sumpter; No. 40, QB Cameron Thomas; No. 39, WR Carmoni Green; No. 38, DB Ahmari Hayes; No. 37, OL Adam Solomon; No. 36, TE Caleb Reams; No. 35, LB Justice Williams; No. 34, DL Owen Carney Jr.; No. 33, RB Dre Brown; No. 32, TE Henry McGrew; No. 31, DB Julian Hylton; No. 30, WR Ricky Smalling; No. 29, LB Dele Harding; No. 28, OL Larry Boyd; No. 27, DB Cameron Watkins; No. 26, WR Dominic Thieman; No. 25, LB Del'Shawn Phillips; No. 24, DL Sean Adesanya; No. 23, DB Chris James; No. 22, TE Nathan Echard; No. 21, WR Sam Mays; No. 20 DL Kenyon Jackson; No. 19 K Chase McLaughlin; No. 18 OL Gabe Megginson; No. 17 DL Tito Odenigbo; No. 16 OL Jordan Fagan; No. 15 LB Julian Jones.

Scott Richey

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