Here's a look at the most viewed videos from the Fighting Illini Athletics YouTube channel (IlliniProductionsHD) from 2012, plus a couple Illini-related bonus videos that were either posted by another channel or fell just outside of 2012. These numbers are solely from the Illinois Athletics YouTube channel, so they don't include view counts from the fightingillini.com video player. Certainly some great moments to look back on this year.
#1 - D.J. Richardson Game-Winning 3-Pointer at Hawaii 11/16 (55,000+ views in 2012)
A thrilling, late-night finish combined with no television and a shaky internet feed combined to make this video the most-watched video of 2012 on the Illinois Athletics YouTube channel with over 55,000 views in just over a month. The video of Richardson's game-winning three in Illinois' 78-77 overtime win is from the local station that aired the game in Hawaii and the audio is rough, but the shot was spectacular and this was the only way most Illini fans could see it.
#2 - Brandon Paul Highlights vs. Ohio State 1/10 (43,000+ views in 2012)
This compilation of Brandon Paul's spectacular 43-point performance in Illinois' 79-74 win over No. 5 Ohio State in January, one of the greatest single-game performances in Illini history, got over 43,000 views in 2012.
#3 - A.J. Jenkins to the 49ers (35,000+ views in 2012)
This A.J. Jenkins highlight video after he was drafted in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers drew over 35,000 views thanks in large part to the 49er fan base. The other highlight videos for 2012 Illini draft pics Whitney Mercilus, Tavon Wilson and Jeff Allen also got big numbers but didn't quite make the list.
#4 - Joseph Bertrand's And-1 vs. Georgia Tech 11/28 (30,000+ views in 2012)
Joseph Bertrands acrobatic and-1 lay-up in Illinois' win over Georgia Tech in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge has climbed to over 30,000 views in just over a month. One of the signature moments of the season so far along with Richardson's game-winner at Hawaii, Tyler Griffey's game-winner against Gardner-Webb and Brandon Paul's incredible performance at Gonzaga.
#5 - Crowd Erupts to End Orange Hush (20,000+ views in 2012)
In this year's men's basketball season-opening win over Colgate on Nov. 9, the Orange Krush and Illini Nation decided to pay homage to Taylor University's 'Silent Night' tradition in honor of the first game for new Illinois coach John Groce, a Taylor alum. The Assembly Hall crowd was to remain silent until the Orange and Blue scored their 10th point of the game, when they would erupt in applause. This raw video of the Krush and Fighting Illini fans erupting on Illinois' 10th (11th & 12th) points, a three-pointer by Myke Henry, to end 'Orange Hush', has gotten more than 20,000 views.
#6 - Gonzaga Music Video (18,000+ views in 2012)
This music video, set to "Some Nights" by Fun., includes highlights and behind-the-scenes footage from Illinois' 85-74 win at Gonzaga on Dec. 8 has more than 18,000 views. Another video from the game, quick highlights and postgame locker room celebration actually has more views (24,000+), but I decided to include this video instead because it's awesome.
These two videos don't fit the parameters of this list, but are such great moments that I didn't want to leave them out.
Big Ten Network's "The Journey" Meyers and Bailey Leonard Reunite (710,000+ Views)
This touching feature of former Illini and current Portland Trailblazer Meyers Leonard's surprise reunion with his brother Bailey, a U.S. Marine who was serving in Afghanistan, aired on the Big Ten Network's "The Journey" in March and was uploaded by John Castelli. It got several thousand views last March, but really went viral this summer when some national outlets, like the Huffington Post and CBS News, discovered the video. At the time of this posting, it had over 710,000 views.
Illini St. Anthony's Piano Jam Session 12/30 (17,000+ Views)
This moment happened and the video was uploaded on Dec. 30, 2011, so it just missed the cutoff for the 2012 list, but I felt this was worth a re-post, especially since there wasn't list of top videos for last year. A day before playing in the 2011 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco, the Fighting Illini Football team prepared and served meals at St. Anthony's Dining Room. The Illini had a blast helping to feed the hungry, especially when one of the one of the guest went over to the piano in the lobby and was joined by Illini players Evan Wilson, Chris Boles, Alex Hill, Kenny Knight and Donovonn Young, who broke out into a freestyle jam session. The whole place was buzzing with joy.