Earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors ... Started in all 11 games and has started 23 consecutive games at center for the Illini ... O-line was rated among the top-10 in many preseason publications ... Tallied 56 knockdowns ... Was in on 581 offensive snaps, second highest on the team behind All-American OT Marques Sullivan ... O-line held the San Diego State defense without a sack and allowed only 20 sacks in 361 pass plays for an average of one sack every 18.1 pass attempts ... Helped lead offense to second consecutive 2,000 yard passing season and over 1,700 rushing yards for the second straight year, something that hasn't been accomplished by Illini teams since the 1989 and '90 seasons ... George Huff Award winner for consecutive semesters with a 3.00 or higher GPA.
Started all 12 games at center ... Helped hold four defenses sackless (Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, and Northwestern) ... O-line allowed the Illini to rush for 2,082 yards (5th in the Big Ten) and pass for 2,805 (3rd in the conference) ... Totaled 46 knockdowns for the season ... Missed the second half against Arkansas State with sprained ankle ... Took 94 snaps against Michigan State and over 80 snaps against Ohio State, Iowa and Indiana.
Saw action in eight games as a backup center ... Also played extensively on field goal unit ... Earned first varsity letter.
Redshirted the 1997 season.
High School Highlights
Earned All-S.I.C.A. East honors, all-area selection by the Star Newspapers, Chicago Sun-Times, and the Daily Southtown ... Named an all-state selection by IHSA Coaches Association, the Champaign News-Gazette and the Chicago Tribune ... Member of Tom Lemming's Top 24 Reebok All-America team featured at Disney World ... Played center, tackle, defensive line and linebacker in high school ... High school coach was Tony Pietrzak ... Earned four letters in football, four in baseball, and one in wrestling ... Earned high honor roll and honor roll accolades at Bloom Trail.
Born on June 26, 1979 ... Nephew of the greatest linebacker in football history, Dick Butkus, who played at Illinois from 1962-64 and enjoyed an eight-year Hall of Fame career with the Chicago Bears from 1965-73 ... Majoring in speech communications ... Cousin, Mark Butkus, lettered at Illinois from 1980-83, earning All-Big Ten honors in 1983 ... Brother, Josh, graduated from Illinois and is working on a masters degree and serves as a GA for strength and conditioning ... Parents are Ron and Judy Butkus ... Father, Ron, attended Illinois and later played with the NFL's Chicago Cardinals ... Lists biggest sports thrill as hitting two homers in a game against arch-rival Homewood-Flossmoor ... Has four brothers and three sisters.