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. 14: Oluwole Betiku Jr.
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 import…
Vitals: 6-3, 240, Gr., DE
Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria
High school: Serra (Calif.)
Looking back at 2018: Offseason hip surgery ahead of the 2018 season saw Betiku use his redshirt season last fall at Southern California after playing sparingly as a true freshman in 2016 and then not much more in 2017 as a sophomore. That 2017 season saw him make the only two tackles of his career while playing in a career-high nine games. That included a half tackle for loss against California.
Looking ahead to 2019: Betiku was a five-star prospect coming out of high school and was the Trojans’ top-ranked recruit in the 2016 class. Like fellow USC transfer Josh Imatorbhebhe, Betiku’s future at Illinois — two years, also like Imatorbhebhe — is based on the promise he showed as a prospect. Given Bobby Roundtree’s severe spinal injury, though, the Illini need Betiku to live up to that promise at defensive end.
Last year’s ranking: NR