Iowa State Football: Western Illinois’ 3 Toughest Players


Terriun Crump was arguably the Leathernecks’ best player. Ranking second at wide receiver in the Missouri Valley last season, he finished with 61 catches for 944 yards and six touchdowns.

Sep 17, 2011; Columbia, MO, USA; Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Brayden Burnett (55) sacks Western Illinois Leathernecks quarterback Josh Hudson (7) during the second half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Missouri defeated Western Illinois, 69-0. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

However, Crump was a senior last season. So was Kevin Palermo, a leader on the defense at linebacker. Both leaders were the teams’ biggest players. Even Larry Patterson, sophomore phenom kick returner, is no longer on the team.

That 2011 team just went 2-9 last year, and both those wins came against Jacksonville and Southern Illinois. They combined for 11-11 seasons.

So who will be the playmakers this season to keep an eye on?

Josh Hudson (Senior quarterback)

One of the quarterbacks that’s apart of the rotation is Hudson, who had the best stats a season ago. He’s actually a dual-threat athlete, ranking fourth in rushing last year with 138 yards on 80 carries. But with scrambling, he actually lost more yards than net gained.

On the passing side, he completed 119-207 yards for 1528 yards. However, he threw just one more touchdown than total interceptions (11). Against the best competition against Missouri, he had a season low going only 4-15 for 20 yards and got picked off.

Caulton Ray (Junior running back)

In eight games, Ray had 144 carries for 620 yards and four touchdowns. He will share the running back position with sophomore counterpart, Nikko Watson. This is the obvious strongest position for the team heading into the new season as they continue to find a consistent quarterback.

Unfortunately, Ray lost some experience by not playing in the game against Missouri last season.

Kieron James (Junior defensive back)

He led the team with three interceptions on the season. Tying for sixth place in total tackles for the team, James can be a player to change the game and help improve a defense that ranked 100th in total defense in the FCS.

Brian Spaen is the lead editor for Clones Confidential. Keep up with the latest sports fails and disdain toward the Big Ten by following him on Twitter.

Read his other work on the Oregon Ducks blog, Autzen Zoo, and Lacrosse the Web.