Oct 26, 2013; Champaign, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini linebacker Mason Monheim (43) during the game against the Michigan State Spartans at Memorial Stadium. Michigan State won 42-3. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Mason Monheim 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 #43 Mason Monheim. Monheim is entering his junior season as a member of the Fighting Illini.

Since coming to Champaign in 2012, Mason Monheim has played in every single Illinois game.

In his two seasons with the Illini, the Orrville, Ohio native has recorded 183 total tackles (75 solo/108 assisted), 2.5 sacks, 12.5 tackles-for-loss, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and one interception.

He’s also been a two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week and was named to Phil Steele’s Second-team Freshman All-American list.

However, this season is going to be a big year for the Illinois defense.

The 2013 season was not a very positive year for the Orange & Blue on defense, and fans are hoping that the defensive unit shows some kind of an improvement this time around.

For Monheim, he will have the distinct duty of replacing Jonathan Brown as both the leader of the linebacking corp and one of the leaders of the Illinois defense as a whole.

Illini Nation hopes Monheim can help the Illinois defense perform better in 2014 than it did in 2013, and that he performs well enough to bring the Butkus Award (named to the preseason watch list) back to the Orange & Blue.

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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Tags: Football Illinois Fighting Illini Mason Monheim

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