- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Ranking the Big Ten's top 30 players ...
Martez Wilson, LB, Illinois, Jr., 6-4, 240
Why he's here: Billed as the next Simeon Rice at Illinois when he signed in 2007, Wilson came to Champaign with a ton of hype, which probably has worked to his detriment. He was listed on the preseason Butkus Award watch list as a sophomore despite owning only 29 career tackles. Wilson certainly has what it takes to climb up these rankings, but right now he fits in here.
An extremely gifted player at 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, Wilson played outside linebacker his first two seasons before moving to the middle this spring. The shift provides an opportunity to become Illinois' featured defender, a role Wilson should be ready for after playing behind Brit Miller and J Leman.
Consistency will be the key for Wilson, who has shown flashes of his incredible potential and still recorded 73 tackles with three sacks and five quarterback hurries last season. The expectations placed on him seem to have been a bit excessive, but the junior looks ready to elevate his game this fall.
14hJosh Moyer and Dan Murphy