Illinois' 'All-Century' team: Best lineup since 2000

Big Ten media days are just a few days away now. We've been whittling away the time by putting together the “All-Century” teams for every Big Ten school. These are the top lineups each team could field consisting of players who have played since 2000.

Last in this series: Illinois.


QB Juice Williams: He set the Illinois all-time total offense mark with over 10,500 yards and led the Illini to a Rose Bowl berth.

RB Mikel Leshoure: He ran for more than 2,550 yards in his career, including a 1,697-yard season in 2010. That year, he set a school record with 330 rushing yards vs. Northwestern.

RB Rashard Mendenhall: He was the Big Ten offensive player of the year in 2007, when he ran for 1,681 yards and 17 touchdowns.

WR Arrelious Benn: He followed up his 2007 Big Ten freshman of the year campaign with a 1,000-yard season in 2008.

WR Brandon Lloyd: He surpassed 1,000 yards in both 2001 and 2002 before going on to a long NFL career.

WR A.J. Jenkins: He ranks third on the Illinois all-time receiving list, thanks in large part to a monstrous 2011 season (90 catches, 1,276 yards, eight TDs).

OL Martin O’Donnell: The leader of the offensive line during the 2007 Rose Bowl season, he was a first-team All-American at guard that year.

OL Tony Pashos: He was a two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection (2001, 2002) at tackle for the Illini.

OL Jay Kulaga: A three-year starter at guard, he was first-team All-Big Ten in 2001.

OL Marques Sullivan: He earned some All-America recognition in 2000 before going on to the NFL.

OL Luke Butkus: He started three seasons at guard, gaining third-team All-America status as a senior. He's now the team's offensive line coach.


DL Whitney Mercilus: His last name said it all. Mercilus was an All-American in 2011 when he recorded 22.5 tackles for loss as a merciless pass rusher.

DL Corey Liuget: A dominant defensive tackle, he finished his three-year career with 25.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks.

DL Fred Wakefield: He had 21 tackles for loss in 2000 and finished with 42 in his career.

LB J Leman: He was a 2007 consensus All-American who recorded 284 tackles his final two seasons.

LB Jonathan Brown: He finished with a whopping 45.5 tackles for loss, including his huge 2011 season, when he had 19.5 and was a Butkus Award semifinalist.

LB Jerry Schumaker: He had at least 100 tackles in three straight seasons (2000-02), led the team in sacks twice and had 17 tackles for loss in 2001.

LB Brit Miller: He had 132 tackles in 2008 and finished with 33 TFLs, 10th-best in school history.

DB Eugene Wilson: He had 11 career interceptions, including six in 2001.

DB Vontae Davis: A star cornerback who was a Thorpe Award semifinalist in 2008, he went on to become a Pro Bowl cornerback in the NFL.

DB Clayton Fejedelem: A walk-on who transferred in from an NAIA school, Fejedelem led the Big Ten with 140 tackles last season.

DB Tavon Wilson: A three-year starter at safety, he finished with 214 career tackles.


K Derek Dimke: He holds the school record for field-goal accuracy, having made 39 of his 46 attempts between 2008-11.

P Steve Weatherford: His career punting average of 43.5 yards is best in school history, and he went on to a successful NFL career.

PR V’Angelo Bentley: He averaged 11 yards per punt return in his three seasons, which ranks third-best in Illinois history.

KR Pierre Thomas: Owns the school record for career kickoff return yardage and averaged 25.3 yards per return in his career.