Apr 12, 2014; Champaign, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini running back Donovonn Young (5) reacts during the third quarter of the spring game at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Donovonn Young and James Crawford 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 #5’s running back Donovonn Young and linebacker/safety (STAR) James Crawford.

Crawford redshirted the entire 2013 season after coming to Champaign as a three-star recruit out of high school. In his senior season, he totaled 65 tackles and five interceptions as St. Thomas Aquinas won a 2012 Florida state championship.

James Crawford will come into the 2014 season as the third string STAR linebacker/safety behind Earnest Thomas III and Eric Finney.

This season is going to be a big year for the Illinois defense.

Last 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.

Donovonn Young will be entering his senior season with the Fighting Illini and his second season as the back-up running back in Bill Cubit’s offensive system.

Last season, he ran for 376 yards and three touchdowns on 93 carries. He also caught twelve passes for 43 yards.

There were some questions this past offseason about whether or not Donovonn Young would still be a member of the Fighting Illini this season. For a while, Young was debating on transferring back to his home state of Texas to finish his college career.

Bottom line is that Young will be back in Orange & Blue this season, but how much will he contribute to the Illini offense?

Last season, Josh Ferguson received the bulk of the carries for Bill Cubit, and that isn’t expected to change this season.

It will be interesting to see how Young performs in a back-up role for the second straight season at Illinois.

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: Donovonn Young Football Illinois Fighting Illini James Crawford

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