Official Depth Chart - Pre SIU: Special Teams

A look at the Illinois special teams depth chart heading into the season opener against Southern Illinois.

K: Taylor Zalewski
P: Justin DuVernois
Holder: Tim Russell
LS: Zach Hirth
KO: Zalewski

PR: V'Angelo Bentley
KR: Miles Osei AND Bentley

Quick thoughts:

- For the most part, Zalewski had a consistent fall camp. He's always had a big leg, but he worked hard to improve his accuracy and consistency in the offseason. He had a few bad moments, mostly at Rantoul, but he proved himself more than capable of improving on last season's effort.

- You guys already know what you're getting in DuVernois. After last year's impressive campaign, I expect him to only get better. And please, keep your "well, he had enough practice in 2012" jokes to yourself.

- Interesting that reserve tight end Tim Russell is the holder. The guy has a damn cannon for an arm. No joke. He's out there to provide run-pass options in the event of a fake field goal or extra point.

- I like Bentley and Osei as the primary returners. Bentley has good speed and is slippery back there. Osei is sure handed and is an underrated athlete. Well, as underrated as a guy that's played quarterback, running back, receiver and special teams can be.

Second team:

K: Brennen VanMieghem
P: Ryan Frain
Holder: DuVernois
LS: Michael Martin
KO: Frain

PR: Osei
KR: Josh Ferguson AND Ryan Lankford

Quick thoughts:

- It's telling that VanMieghem is the second string kicker and not Frain, who is actually on scholarship. Frain was highly ranked in the 2012 recruiting class, but didn't look comfortable in camp after redshirting last season. He will serve as the backup punter and kickoff man though, so we'll see if he settles in.

- Both Ferguson and Lankford are explosive, quick and fast, so they'll probably get more than a few opportunities on kickoffs this season.

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