Nov 16, 2013; Champaign, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini defensive back Earnest Thomas III (9) defends Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Devin Smith (9) on a pass during the first quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois Fighting Illini Football: Two Illini Selected To BTN Preseason All-Big Ten Team

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As we near closer and closer to the Illinois Fighting Illini football season, the Big Ten Network announced their writers’ preseason All-Conference team.

The 2014 BTN preseason All-Big Ten team was comprised of several different writers from the network. BTN.com asked one writer from each school to pick their first-team offense and defense as well as some end of the year awards.

The Illinois Fighting Illini saw two of their defensive players make the preseason list as both Mason Monheim and Earnest Thomas III each received one vote.

The two Orange & Blue players were voted onto the team via BTN.com Penn State writer Ben Jones.

This year is going to be an important one for Monheim, Thomas, and the Illini defense.

The 2013 season was not a positive one for Illinois defensively as they let almost the entire Big Ten run all over them a season ago, and their main goal in 2014 will be to help the team get to a bowl games this postseason.

As for Monheim, the Illinois junior was named to the Dick Butkus Award preseason watch list earlier this month.

He will look to be one of the leaders for the defensive unit and possibly bring the Butkus Award back to the Orange & Blue (where it rightfully belongs).

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Tags: Earnest Thomas III Football Illinois Fighting Illini Mason Monheim

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