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. 48: Keith Randolph
Vitals: 6-5, 270, Fr., DE
High School: Belleville West
Looking back at 2018: The consensus three-star recruit — ranked as high as the No. 36 strong side defensive end in the 2019 class by Rivals — put together a solid senior football season at Belleville West before helping the Maroons' basketball team win a second straight Class 4A state title. On the football field, Randolph finished his year with 56 tackles, including nine tackles for loss and seven sacks.
Looking ahead to 2019: Randolph is raw given the fact he first tried football at age 10, gave it up for basketball and then got back on the field as a sophomore at Belleville West. His physicality and athleticism, though, could help, and he might have to put them to good use early given the uncertainty at defensive end because of Bobby Roundtree's severe spinal injury.
Last year's ranking: NR