Illinois Football: The 30 greatest Illini players of all time

Illinois football. (Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Illinois football. (Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Robert Holcombe, Illinois football
Robert Holcombe, Illinois football. (Getty Images) /

A tough player to gauge where he exactly fits into the grand scheme of things is Robert Holcombe. He is one of the greatest players to come through the program and was a workhorse for the Illinois offense.

Holcombe dons quite a few record lists for the Illini. He is the all-time leading rusher in program history with 4,105 yards during his four-year career. His best season came in 1996 when he ran for 1,281 yards, which ranks No. 4 in single-season rushing yardage. His 1997 season, where he ran for 1,253 yards, ranks No. 7 as well.

Holcombe holds the No. 2 single-game rushing yardage total with 315 yards against Minnesota in 1996. He is No. 3 all time in career rushing touchdowns with 25 and No. 5 in single-season rushing touchdowns with 12. The Illini teams weren’t overly successful during Holcombe’s time with the program, but he was a force for the team in the 1994 Liberty Bowl victory over East Carolina, 30-0.

While Holcombe didn’t win many awards and wasn’t an All-American, he was a big-time player for this program. He was someone the offensive could rely on to get yards and score touchdowns. Holcombe would go on to play in the NFL and win a Super Bowl with the St. Louis Rams as well. He was a great player for this program and someone who deserves to be on this list.