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Whitney Mercilus Ready For Prime Time Role

Whitney Mercilus (Holly Smith)

In most cases, college football players must wait their opportunity for playing time while more experienced upperclassmen take most of the plays in games. That has certainly been true for junior Whitney Mercilus. Now a starting defensive end, Mercilus has paid his dues and is ready to be a leader for the Illini defense.

Whitney Mercilus arrived at Illinois as an undersized defensive end. He was always tenacious and aggressive, but he lacked the size and strength to compete against 300 pound offensive linemen. That is no longer the case. "I'm 265 now. It feels real good. I'm trying to maintain my speed, and I'm still trying to adjust to the body. But overall I feel good." After spending time behind first...

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