Veterans add boost to Illini defensive line


CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — The Illinois defense has a chance to step up this season, after allowing a conference-worst 467 yards, and ranking 14th in total defense last season. The Illini will have a new look and scheme under new defensive coordinator Ryan Walters, while several veterans return to the defensive line.

Roderick Perry III and Jamal Woods were both injured in the spring, but the two bring a needed boost. Woods, a four-year starter on the D-line, missed four games during the 2020 season.

“We ready, we’ve been putting in the hard work and grind throughout the summer, and I know my teammates were locked in, every one of us, so we’re just ready to go on the field and show the world what we got.”

Perry transferred into the program from South Carolina State, but the All-Big Ten honorable mention missed the last two games of the season with an injury. He’s ready to bounce back following his breakout year in the Big Ten where he made 17 tackles, along with two sacks.

“It’s a different vibe from last year,” says Perry. “I feel like last year we were all coming in, getting to know each other, and now we’re coming together as a team as brothers, and working for a bigger goal.”

The Illini will open the season on August 28th against Nebraska. Kick-off is set for noon.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.