11 ui ftb practice

Vedarian Lowe cools off between plays. University of Illinois final Spring Football workout, Saturday, April 7, 2018 at Memorial Stadium.

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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. 11: Vederian Lowe

Vitals: 6-6, 320, Jr., OL

Hometown: Rockford

High school: Auburn

Looking back at 2018: Lowe started all 12 games at left tackle last season, giving him 19 starts for his career. Notable about the Illinois offensive line in 2018 was the fact it stayed intact all season. That was a key part of the Illini run game breaking out as the No. 12 rushing attack in the country and second to Wisconsin in the Big Ten averaging 243 yards per game mostly behind 1,000-yard rusher Reggie Corbin.

Looking ahead to 2019: The Illini offensive line returns nearly intact this fall, with Lowe one of the present and also long-term anchors at left tackle. While run blocking will still be important, the Rockford native will likely be called upon to show what he can do as a pass blocker on the edge. Whichever quarterback gets the starting job, Lowe will be there protecting the blind side since they’re all righties.

Last year’s ranking: 17

College/Prep Sports Reporter

Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is srichey@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).