Six Illini Named Midseason All-Americans
Oct. 14, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Six University of Illinois football players earned recognition on Phil Steele's Midseason All-America team. Junior defensive end Whitney Mercilus led the way, garnering first team accolades, while senior wide receiver A.J. Jenkins was on the second team, senior offensive tackle Jeff Allen on the third team and senior defensive back Tavon Wilson on the fourth team. Sophomore quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase and junior center Graham Pocic were honorable mention All-America selections.
All six players have been instrumental in helping the Fighting Illini get off to a 6-0 start, the team's best since 1951. Mercilus has had a breakout season in 2011, leading the nation with 8.5 sacks and ranking in the top-six nationally in forced fumbles (fourth) and tackles for loss (sixth). Jenkins leads the nation in receiving yards with 815 and leads the Big Ten with 46 catches and seven touchdowns. Allen has made 40 consecutive starts and has helped pave the way for the nation's 13th-ranked rushing offense. Wilson leads the team with 41 tackles, including 4.5 tackles for loss, one sack, four pass break-ups and one fumble return for touchdown.
A total of 11 Illini were named to Steele's Midseason All-Big Ten Teams, including four first team selections. Allen, Jenkins, Mercilus, Wilson and bandit Michael Buchanan earned first-team honors, while linebacker Jonathan Brown, defensive back Terry Hawthorne, Scheelhaase, defensive tackle Akeem Spence and linebacker Ian Thomas were named to the second team. Center Graham Pocic earned third-team recognition.
Illini on Steele's Midseason All-America Teams:
Illini on Steele's Midseason All-Big Ten Teams:
The No. 16/15 Fighting Illini host Ohio State at Memorial Stadium this Saturday, Oct. 15, at 2:30 pm CDT. Illinois is looking to "Stripe the Stadium" against the Buckeyes.