<
>

Three fresh faces for Illinois in 2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

These three newcomers should make a mark for the Fighting Illini this fall.

OFFENSE -- Jarred Fayson, WR, Jr.

Fayson already is a familiar name to Illinois fans even though he hasn't caught a pass in a Big Ten game. The Florida transfer quickly made his mark in Champaign and likely earned a starting job this spring at wide receiver, a position where Illinois is already loaded. Fayson should draw defenders away from All-America candidate Arrelious Benn. He could become the bona fide No. 2 receiver Illinois is looking for this fall.
DEFENSE -- Aaron Gress, LB, Jr.

The junior college transfer should see the field immediately as Illinois tries to replace leading tackler Brit Miller and Rodney Pittman at linebacker. Gress auditioned at several linebacker spots this spring and drew good reviews from the coaching staff. He also could help in nickel packages and has the versatility to play safety if need be.

SPECIAL TEAMS -- Terry Hawthorne, WR, Fr.

Along with Fayson, Justin Green and several other newcomers, Hawthorne should play a big role on special teams this fall. He racked up 263 punt return yards as a high school senior and might be a good option alongside Benn on the kickoff return unit. And if Illinois really gets desperate for a punter, Hawthorne can step in. He averaged a whopping 44.8 yards per punt last year in high school.