Oct. 27, 2012; Champaign, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini cheerleaders after a touchdown by the Illini during the first half against the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reid Compton-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Nudera and Julian Hylton 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 a pair of #30′s in tight end Jim Nudera and defensive back Julian Hylton.

Nudera joined the team in 2011 out of York High School in Elmhurst, Illinois. During his senior season of high school, he was named an All-Conference, and All-Area, and an Academic All-State selection.

The Illinois junior hasn’t seen game action at tight end during his career at Illinois, and that could stay the same in 2014.

This is because Illinois returns three of their top TEs.

The top four TEs on the depth chart could be Jon Davis, Matt LaCosse, Tyler White, and Dallas Hinkhouse.

As for Hylton, he came to Champaign this offseason as a three-star recruit from Lincoln-Way North in Tinley Park, Illinois. He was the 28th ranked recruit out of Illinois by ESPN and 31th by Rivals.com.

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

The 2013 season was not a 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.

As of right now, it looks like the young freshman could contribute for the Illini in his first season as ourlads.com has Hylton as the third free safety on the Illinois depth chart.

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 Jim Nudera Julian Hylton

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