Before the start of Illinois football's training camp on Aug. 2 in Champaign, beat writer Scott Richey is counting down the Top 50 most important Illini heading into the 2019 season:
No. 39: Donny Navarro
Vitals: 5-11, 185, R-So., WR
High school: Neuqua Valley
Looking back at 2018: The only glimpses of Navarro so far have happened during a practice setting as he sat out the 2018 season after transferring from Valparaiso. He was productive for the Crusaders in 2017, leading them with 32 catches for 539 yards and five touchdowns in 2017, and showed sure hands across the middle while running with the scout team last fall.
Looking ahead to 2019: Again, wide receiver is a point of emphasis heading into this coming season. As in the Illini could use a breakout season from more than one of their athletes in that group. Could Navarro be a version of Mikey Dudek (an easy comparison to make given their shared alma mater)? He'll have to compete with guys like Centennial graduate Dominic Stampley and Southern Cal graduate transfer Trevon Sidney in the slot for that opportunity.
Last year's ranking: NR