Sep 7, 2013; Champaign, IL, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats running back Ralph Abernathy (1) is tackled by Illinois Fighting Illini defensive lineman Kenny Nelson (58) during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Kenny Nelson Days Until Illinois Fighting Illini Season Opener

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Welcome to our Countdown to Kickoff series!  In this series, we’ll do roster previews as we count down the days until the Illinois Fighting Illini August 30th season opener against Youngstown State.

Next up in the Countdown to Kickoff series is #58 defensive lineman Kenny Nelson. Nelson is entering his junior season as a member of the Fighting Illini.

Nelson redshirted his first year at Illinois in 2011 and played his first season in 2012.

He only played in four games that season totaling three tackles.

As a redshirt sophomore last season, Kenny Nelson played in eleven of Illinois’ twelve contests. In those eleven games, he totaled sixteen tackles (six solo) and recovered two fumbles.

It would be somewhat of a shocker to not see Nelson starting for the Fighting Illini at the defensive end position in 2014.

Right now, Orange& projects Nelson and Dawuane Smoot to start at defensive end this season. However, Illinois added some nice talent at the DE position this past offseason.

Two players that could be thrown into the DE rotation this season are freshman Paul James and junior transfer Joe Fotu.

Be on the lookout for our Countdown to Kickoff series as we continue to work our way to the season opener on August 30th.

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