Fullback Greg Fuller Eager To Help Illini

Greg Fuller (Holly Smith)

Fullback was a forgotten position for the Fighting Illini football team with the spread offense. Russ Weil was a major factor in helping Rashard Mendenhall become an All-American, but he was on campus when Ron Zook arrived. Greg Fuller was Zook's only scholarship fullback when the offensive scheme changed, and he now hopes to reap the benefits.

Greg Fuller was the first and only player recruited to play fullback in Ron Zook's first five years at Illinois. The Thornton of Harvey freshman knew he was joining a program that used a fullback infrequently, but he was understandably thrilled when new offensive coordinator Paul Petrino arrived with a need for fullbacks.

"It's exciting. I know I've got a chance to compete now to play."

He believes the new offensive scheme is made to order for the Illini, himself included.

"Yeah, it really does. I really think it fits everybody on our offense more this year. It's a very explosive offense. I'm excited."

Fuller redshirted this past season. He believes sitting out aided his development.

"Yeah. I got a year to just sit back and watch everything happen. The speed of the game and everything. How the practice was, and the games. It really helped."

It also helped to be involved with Strength and Conditioning Coach Lou Hernandez's workout program.

"I'm 230. I cut my weight. Last year I was around 255. I'm a lot quicker. I thought I needed to be bigger to be more powerful. The bigger the better."

Did he also get stronger through winter conditioning?

"Of course. I barely got through winter conditioning. Extreme."

The short and stocky Fuller was known in high school for his speed, pass receiving ability and blocking power. He needed to be prodded to state his best attributes.

"Staying positive about everything. And blocking. I like to block. I enjoy hitting, and I like seeing people get hit. Finishing the blocks, all that stuff."

Fullbacks are rarely called upon to run with the ball. While many athletes want more of the glory, the position suits Fuller well.

"I don't know. I can run a little bit. But I prefer to block."

Fuller may eventually be called upon to receive flat passes and outlets, but he has had few opportunities up to now. With more practice and experience, that should come as well.

He is strictly a fullback at this point, while Zach Becker is considered both a fullback and H-Back. Up to now, Becker has played first string, but Fuller may be able to challenge this fall.

Fuller is undecided on a major.

"I'm leaning towards psychology right now."

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