The staff of Writing Illini takes a look at the Illinois Fighting Illini’s Week One match-up with the Southern Illinois Salukis. In this roundtable, the guys comb through the SIU roster and give their thoughts on who will be the most dangerous player for the Salukis on Saturday.
Ryan: SIU has a 5th year senior QB in Kory Faulkner, so that’s the obvious answer. If Illinois can limit the QB’s effectiveness, they will be limiting the SIU offense’s potential to inflict damage on the Illini Defense. That said, SIU has three junior running backs, Mika’il McCall, Ken Malcome, and Tay Willis, that figure to play in this game, and there is always a possibility that one of them could find a hole in the young Illini defensive line.
Of the three, I’ll throw out Tay Willis as the one to watch. In the Salukis final public scrimmage, Willis caught a swing pass that he broke for a 57 yard touchdown, and he also rushed for a touchdown on a 1 yard goal line plunge.
After the game, Saluki head coach Dale Lennon lauded Willis’ “big play potential,” and added that finding ways to get him the ball in open space will be “a big part of their offense.”
Austin: While I have never seen him play, from what I have read online, I would have to say that SIU’s best player is MyCole Pruitt, who was an All-FCS 4th team tight end last season. A good blocking tight end, and a better catching tight end, Pruitt may cause issues for Illinois in the short passing game and may impede our ability to get to the quarterback in the pass rush. If Illinois allows Pruitt to get into a rhythm early in the game and can not contain him, that could be trouble for the Illini.
Ricky: In today’s football games, it all starts with the quarterback. That is why I am saying that 5th year senior Kory Faulkner will be SIU’s most dangerous player on Saturday. He will be the leader of the Salukis offense and will need to be on his A game if SIU wants a chance at upsetting the Fighting Illini in Week One. Let’s just hope that the Illini defense can cause havoc for him and make life hard for the senior leader of the Salukis.
Rees: RB Mika’il McCall is easily the most dangerous player coming into the game against the Illini. McCall originally committed and played for the Iowa Hawkeyes, but after the 2011 season he decided to transfer to the Salukis. He had just under 500 yards rushing on a part time role, but racked up 8 touchdowns in his role. The Illini front lines better keep an eye out for this sleeper.
What do you think, Illini Nation? Who will be SIU’s most dangerous player on Saturday?
The Writing Illini staff includes lead editor Ricky Widmer along with staff writers, Austin Jabs, Rees Woodcock, and Ryan Kraemer.
Follow Ricky on Twitter @RickyWidmer.
Follow Austin on Twitter @AustinJabs85.
Follow Ryan on Twitter @RPKraemer.