All-Decade Team Linebackers Announced
Aug. 24, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The University of Illinois announced the seventh group of players on the All-Decade Team Wednesday, with linebackers J Leman, Brit Miller, Jerry Schumacher and Martez Wilson being named to the 31-player team. The squad, which honors Illini who played between 2000-10, was compiled by a combination of fan voting and input from Division of Intercollegiate Athletics staff.
Leman was a consensus All-American in 2007 after leading the Illini to the 2008 Rose Bowl, Illinois' first consensus All-American since Kevin Hardy in 1995. Leman led the Illini with 132 tackles in 2007 after posting a team-high 152 tackles in 2006, the sixth-highest number of tackles in a season in UI history. Leman was a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete and finalist for the Draddy Award, Ronnie Lott Award and Danny Weurffel Award. He also was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award, Rotary Lombardi Award, Bednarik Award and Nagurski Award. Leman led the Big Ten and ranked third nationally in tackles per game in 2006, and was third in the Big Ten and 22nd nationally in 2007. He ranks sixth in career tackles with 407 and fifth in career tackles for loss with 38.5. Leman also is tied for sixth with 19 TFLs in 2006. A three-year starter, he earned first-team All-Big Ten honors in 2006 and 2007. Leman currently is in his second year in the NFL, playing for the San Diego Chargers.
After starting alongside Leman for two seasons, Miller stepped into the middle linebacker spot in 2008 and matched Leman's tackles from the previous season with 132. He posted a team-high 15.5 TFLs in 2008 and is tied for ninth in career TFLs in school history with 33. He also shared the team lead in sacks with six in 2008 and his 13 solo tackles at Wisconsin on Oct. 25, 2008, are tied for fifth-most in a game in UI history. Miller led the Big Ten and ranked fifth nationally with 11.0 tackles per game in 2008 and ranked 25th nationally in TFLs per game. A semifinalist for the Ronnie Lott Award and member of the AFCA Good Works Team, Miller earned first-team All-Big Ten honors from the media and second-team honors from the coaches in 2008.
Schumacher ranks 10th in UI history in career tackles with 370 after topping the 100-tackle mark in 2000 (104), 2001 (125) and 2002 (122). He is tied with Miller for ninth on the career TFLs record list and is tied for ninth on the single-season TFLs list with 17 in 2001. Schumacher keyed a defense that helped Illinois to an outright Big Ten title and the 2002 Sugar Bowl. He led the Illini in sacks in 2001 and 2002, and ranks ninth in career forced fumbles with five. Schumacher was All-Big Ten selection in 2001 and 2002, earning second-team honors both seasons.
Wilson led Illinois with 112 tackles in 2010, after recovering from a neck injury that ended his 2009 season after one game. He earned first-team All-Big Ten honors by the media and second-team laurels from the coaches in 2010 after being tied for fourth in the Big Ten with 8.6 tackles per game and tied for ninth in TFLs with 11.5. He was an honorable mention All-American by Scout.com in 2007 after helping the Illini to the 2008 Rose Bowl and finished his career with 223 tackles, 20 TFLs and nine sacks. In addition, his three forced fumbles in 2010 are tied for seventh in UI history. He declared for the 2011 NFL Draft following his junior season and was selected in the third round by the New Orleans Saints.
Quarterbacks, the final position group of the All-Decade Team, will be announced on Thursday, Aug. 25.
The Illini open the 2011 season by hosting Arkansas State at 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 3. It is the first of five consecutive home games and eight total home games, the most in Memorial Stadium history. Season and single-game tickets are available at http://www.athletics.illinois.edu/tickets/.