Scouting the Big 10: Illinois

It was just a few seasons ago the Fighting Illini were playing in a BCS post season game. Since then the program has fallen on hard times and now starts again with former Florida coach Ron Zook. The play on the field and has been poor as have the Illini results in the NFL draft.  

Long known as a program that puts quality blockers into the NFL, junior Matt Maddox seems to be the next in line to carry the banner.  A solid position blocker with excellent power, Maddox is a nasty lineman who displays the ability to drive opponents off the line of scrimmage.  Staying with the action he'll hit two defenders during a single play yet is best in a small area as he lacks footwork and lateral range in space.  Possessing growth potential, Maddox is one to keep on the radar screen and could benefit if his move to center works out this season.   Fullback Jason Davis is more an offensive threat then true lead blocker.  A solid receiver out of the backfield, he has a punishing and aggressive style carrying the ball.  Fluid moving about the field, he also displays good ball carrying instincts.  Finally tight end Melvin Bryant has solid size and a good degree of athleticism.  Flashing ability on occasion, he has potential at the next level should he ever put a complete game together. 

Defensively Travis Williams is a tough run defending safety with a straight line burst of speed.  Best playing downhill, he does not always take proper angles to the action and has difficulty in man coverage situations.  Built like a cornerback, Williams lacks top ball skills for the next level. Finally, Morris Virgil lacks true safety size but displayed skill last season after making a move from running back

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