One of the most touted players that Ron Zook has recruited at Illinois is linebacker Martez Wilson. Expectations for Wilson are high to say the least. Playing at a school that was once known as "Linebacker U," fans and alumni will keep a very close eye on him.
Dick Butkus is one of the all-time great linebackers in Illinois history and Wilson knows the tradition of this great player. "He was a relentless LB," Wilson said. "He was everywhere on the field and making all the tackles. He's a great guy too; we met him last year at the Rose Bowl."
As touted as Wilson is, he's just now at the point where he is taking on more responsibility. "I felt good out there having my first collegiate start," Wilson said. "I liked being able to play in front of the entire nation and showing them what I could do. As a defense this game was a wake-up call for us. Missouri has a good offense and overall the defense didn't tackle well. This game taught us we need to tackle better."
Wilson knows he must run to the ball more and when given a chance to make tackles he must do it. Giving up the points in the first game definitely puts a scare in Illini fans, but remember Missouri has one of the best offenses Illinois will face this season.
"I wasn't really nervous being out there," Wilson stated. "I had a good game on the stat sheet, but I know I didn't perform to the best of my ability. After the game I watched the film and saw what I can improve on. There's a lot of minor things people don't pay attention to but me and the coaches do."
Look for Wilson and the entire team to make plays Saturday as they take on Eastern Illinois.