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Thursday, March 10, 2011
Big Ten rankings: No. 8, Martez Wilson

By staff

The 2010 Big Ten postseason player rankings continue with ...

No. 8: Martez Wilson, LB, Illinois, Jr., 6-4, 250

Martez Wilson
Martez Wilson put it all together this season, notching a team-high 112 tackles, including 11.5 tackles for loss.
2010 numbers: Recorded a team-high 112 tackles, including 11.5 tackles for loss and four sacks; had three forced fumbles, an interception, four pass breakups, four quarterback hurries, a blocked kick and a fumble recovery; tied for fourth in the league in tackles per game (8.6), ninth in tackles for loss and tied for second in forced fumbles; earned first-team All-Big Ten honors from the media and second-team honors from the coaches.

Preseason rank: Unranked in the preseason Top 25 players

Why he's here: It took three-plus seasons, but Wilson finally showed why he came to Illinois as such a heralded prospect. There wasn't a more versatile linebacker in the Big Ten this season, as Wilson impacted the game nearly every time he took the field. He recorded at least one tackle for loss in eight games and made an impact on special teams with a blocked punt against Indiana and a blocked extra point against Ohio State that was nullified by a penalty.

Wilson adjusted well to Vic Koenning's defense and truly embraced his role as middle linebacker and unit leader. He was named one of Illinois four co-captains nine times, including each of the three contests. "People are just happy," Wilson told me in October. "They're like, 'This is the Tez we've been expecting to see from the time you came in.'" Unfortunately for Illini fans, they won't see Wilson in Champaign in 2011 as he entered the NFL draft a year early.