Nov 2, 2013; University Park, PA, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini punter Justin DuVernois (18) attempts to punt the ball during the second quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Illinois 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O

Mike Dudek and Justin DuVernois 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 #18’s in wide receiver Mike Dudek and punter Justin DuVernois.

DuVernois joined the team as a freshman in 2011, and he has started at punter for the Illini in every game for the past three seasons.

Last season, the Illinois punter had his fewest punts (51) of his career. With those 51 punts, he totaled 2,094 yards (41.1 yards per punt), two touchbacks, and five fair catches. He also pinned opponents inside their own 20-yard line 13 times and had ten punts travel for over 50-yards.

Mike Dudek joined the Fighting Illini as a three-star recruit out of Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, Illinois.

Although he has yet to play in his first game for the Orange & Blue, Dudek is receiving some major attention from coaches, the media, and Illini Nation as a whole.

Just this weekend, he was named as one of five freshmen to watch in the Big Ten this season by Fox Sports.

Mike Dudek has a good chance to become a starter in Bill Cubit’s system. It’s hard to tell if all the offseason talk is just hype, but I think Dudek will be something special for the Fighting Illini this season.

He has the potential to be one of Illinois’ offensive breakout performers in 2014.

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 Justin DuVernois Mike Dudek

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