The Illinois Fighting Illini look to put an abysmal 2012 season behind them, seeking to improve from their 2-10 record. Unfortunately for the boys in orange, 2013 looks to be just as challenging.
Offense was a consistent problem for the Illini, who found themselves last in the Big Ten in passing and receiving yards. Luckily, Illinois will have their most important weapons returning for 2013. Here we rank their top five offensive weapons for 2013.
Former Western Michigan head coach Bill Cubit will take over for the Illini as offensive coordinator. Cubit, like Illinois head coach Tim Beckman, come from the Mid-American Conference.
Prior to 2013, Miles Osei served as a backup quarterback to Nathan Scheelhaase. This year, Osei will instead be a regular receiver for the Illini. Osei has proven speed and agility, which he has displayed while serving as a kick returner.
Osei's versatility is a key weapon for the Illini, who did not have any top-10 offensive weapons in the Big Ten in 2012.
Josh Ferguson is yet another duel-threat player for the Illini. Ferguson brings a receiving and rushing game to the Illini, having racked up 251 receiving yards and 345 rushing yards. Ferguson will back up Donovonn Young, who led the Illini in rushing last season.
Ryan Lankford also brings versatility to the Illinois offense. Lankford served as a receiver and kick returner for the Illini in 2012, leading the team with 469 receiving yards, as well as 111 kick return yards.
Lankford also led the Illini with five receiving touchdowns. Only Eddie Viliunas and Spencer Harris had multiple receiving touchdowns, each with two apiece.
Hopefully for the Illini, new OC Bill Cubit will help improve their offense...but really, it can only go up from 2012, right?
Scheelhaase looked promising in the spring game, throwing one touchdown while going 24-of-32.
As mentioned, Donovonn Young was key for the Illinois offense in 2012. Young accounted for 598 rushing yards and 172 receiving yards while playing in all 12 games for the Illini. He was also one of only five Illini with a receiving touchdown last year.
Young looked impressive in the Illinois spring game this year, rushing for 86 yards and three touchdowns.