Editor's note: ESPN.com's Mel Kiper Jr. begins his look at key players on Division I-A teams with his lists of the five most important players for six teams from the Big Ten. (Schools listed in alphabetical order).
Illinois Fighting Illini
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1. Tim Brasic, QB, jr. -- Had a very good spring in Ron Zook's system, where he had four or five wideouts and also ran some option. Is a good running quarterback and will also direct some no-huddle this season.
2. Derrick McPhearson, WR, fr. -- Signed with Florida a year ago before attending prep school, and the coaches think he can be a spectacular player this season.
3. Melvin Bryant, TE, jr. -- A good pass-catching tight end who had an excellent spring, he could as much as triple his 11 catches from last season.
4. Steve Weatherford, P, sr. -- Can boom the Illini out of trouble with his tremendous leg, and he has decathlon-type athleticism to boot. Averaged 45.5 yards last year.
5. Morris Virgil, FS, sr. -- A former running back entering his second year in the defensive backfield, Virgil is a physical player and the best athlete on the team.