The Word: Petty has come a long way since his high school days, when his only "big" offer was to Colorado State. Even after landing at Illinois after a JUCO stint, it was hard to know what he could bring after missing all of spring due to injury. He started the season off slow and didn't get much playing time. He recorded only 10 tackles through the first five games, but jumped ahead of Taylor Barton in the starting lineup and made 14 stops against Wisconsin. From then on, Petty was near the top of the list for tackles made in every game.
2013: 75 tackles, one for loss, one QB hurry.
Intrigue level: 9 out of 10. Both Petty and Earnest Thomas made a lot of stops in 2013. That's all well and good on paper, but do you really want both of your starting safeties closing in on 100 tackles this season? I don't think so. With those guys making so many plays with opposing offenses customarily reaching the second and third level, it was hard to tell if the safeties were playing well or not. Sure, they were making tackles. But how was their coverage? How were their angles? With most of their plays made in all-out survival mode, it was hard to give a passing or failing grade. Petty took some time to crack the starting lineup. And now that he's there, it almost feels like it's over. He's only got one year left. What will he be remembered for?