Named a team captain ? Started all 11 games at free safety for the Illini ? Totaled a career-high 12 tackles against Michigan ? Ranked 13th in the Big Ten in total tackles ? Registered 11 tackles at Northwestern ? Had eight solo tackles vs. Ohio State ? Recorded tackles for loss in two games at Minnesota and vs. Indiana ? Ranked third on the team in total tackles with 90, leading the secondary ? Stopped a driving Minnesota offense with a forced fumble inside Gopher redzone ? Recovered a fumble in the Illini?s blanking of Iowa, 31-0.
Started all 12 games at free safety? Ranked third on the team in tackles with 79 ? Led team with five interceptions which ranked fifth in the Big Ten ? Recorded fifth interception of the season and returned it for 21 yards in the Illini?s rout of Virginia in the Micronpc.com Bowl ? Also led the team with seven tackles and two passes broken up in bowl game ? Had a season-high 11 tackles vs. Iowa ? Also set single-game career high for solo stops with 10 vs. Iowa ? Made seven tackles and recovered two fumbles against Northwestern ? His five picks were the most by an Illini since 1996 ? Recovered a team-high four fumbles ? Had 10 total tackles in the Illini?s win over No. 9 Michigan ? Returned an interception of Louisville?s Chris Redmon 31 yards in the Illini?s win over the Cardinals ? Recovered fumbles in three games, one each vs. Michigan State and Penn State, and two vs. Northwestern.
Played in all 11 games as a true freshman at free safety and on special teams, starting four games after an injury to starter Mike Gusich ? Made 26 tackles, including 15 solos with one interception and one fumble recovery ? Made career-high 10 tackles with seven solo stops vs. Wisconsin ? Made seven stops at Northwestern with five solo tackles and a touchdown-saving interception, returning it 18 yards . . . Added six tackles with four solos vs. Iowa and Ohio State ? Also made four tackles vs. Louisville and Purdue, adding a fumble recovery vs. Boilermakers.
High School Highlights
Played tailback on offense and strong safety on defense at Southern Regional High School in Manahawkin, N.J. ? High school head coach was Larry Sheehan . . . Set school career rushing record with 2,055 yards and single-season mark with 1,304 yards in 1997 . . . Also owns single-season TD mark with 12 in both 1996 and 1997 ? Rushed for 239 yards in one game in 1997 and scored five touchdowns in a game in 1996 . . . On defense, made 138 career tackles with four interceptions, seven forced fumbles, 10 knockdowns and two sacks . . . A two-time A-South Conference selection ? A State Super 100 team pick, also earned All-Shore Region Conference, All South of the Border and All-Ocean County team honors . . . Earned 10 varsity letters in high school, including three in football, three in wrestling and four in track and field . . . In wrestling, named Most Improved as a frosh, won 160-pound class at North Bergen JV Championships as a sophomore, and helped lead squad to state championship in 1997
Full given name is Muhammad Qasim Abdullah ? Born Nov. 16, 1979 in Jersey City, N.J. ? Majoring in business administration-entrepreneurship ? Served as school representative to County Youth Human Relations Commission for three years, a peer leader for two years, school representative to Teen Leadership Institute in 1997 and was a member of the National Art Honor Society ? Most memorable sports moments were scoring five touchdowns in 1996 game, breaking the 1,000-yard rushing mark in 1997, making 14 tackles in one game in 1997 and winning the state team championship in wrestling in 1997 ? His uncle, Charles Mays, was a member of the 1968 and 1972 United States Olympic Track and Field squads . . . His father, Ibrahim, is in management at Bell Atlantic and his mother, Bahiyyah, is Director of Marketing and Membership with the Ocean County Girl Scout Council ? Enjoys video games, drawing and being with friends ? Favorite athlete is Barry Sanders ? Past summer jobs include groundskeeper at Six Flags Great Adventure and cashier at McDonald?s.
Tackles: 12 vs. Michigan, 9/23/00
Solos: 10 at Iowa, 11/6/99
Interceptions: 1, six times, last time vs. Virginia, 12/30/99
PBU: 2 at Louisville, 9/18/99
Fumbles Rec: 2 vs. Northwestern, 11/20/99
TFL: 1, four times, last vs. Indiana, 11/4/00