Roundtree expects more from himself, Illini in 2018


CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Bobby Roundtree impressed just about everyone last season, except for himself.  

“I just want to bring more to the table this year,” the Illinois defensive end said.

As a true freshman in 2017, Roundtree played in all 12 games, starting nine. He ended the year tied for most sacks on the team with four. It was enough for the Largo, Florida native to be named to the Big Ten All-Freshmen team. 

“Bobby’s a versatile guy,” Illinois defensive line coach Austin Clark said. “He could really play all of the positions we ask him to play. (He’s) a very long, twitchy guy that can make a difference for us.”

Despite the praise, there’s one stat that has been on Roundtree’s mind all offseason. The Illini finished 2017 last in the Big Ten in rush defense. 

“Last year was embarrassing, at least for me,” Roundtree said. “This year we just trying to turn the program around. I just want to be more of a leader, bring more energy to the team. and just do my job.”

According to Roundtree, his job is to double his numbers. And that, he says, will come with being a better student of the game. 

“I got experience,” he said. “I know what’s coming and I know the atmosphere. Just knowing that will make me more comfortable. I’m not as laid back as I was last year.”

A wiser, more focused Roundtree will certainly help the Illini as they try to take the next step after finishing 85th in the country in total defense last year.

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