The 90 Illini #8: Darius Millines August 24, 2012
5′-11″, 185 lbs.
Junior (on scholarship, 3 years to play 2)
American Heritage HS / Boynton Beach, Florida
ALE Ranking last year: #24
ALE Ranking in 2010: #61
What I Know About Him:
When I first sat down to put together this list, not gonna lie, my very first thought was “should I put Millines #1?” Not even kidding. I put myself in this mindset: If player X has a great season, we probably have a great season. So when I solve for X, which players are at the top? Millines was the first name I thought of.
AJ is gone, so Nathan needs targets. Specifically, Nathan needs a #1 target. A clear #1 receiver would go so incredibly far in making this a solid offense. So… maybe… our most talented receiver needs to settle in to that role. Millines had the offer list in high school that screams “go-to receiver”: Miami (FL), Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, etc. The way I remember it, it came down to Illinois and West Virginia, but then a coach from West Virginia left for Marshall and it was a three horse race that Zook won.
Last summer in Rantoul, Paul Petrino claimed that Millines had become our #1 receiver and that AJ Jenkins had work to do if he wanted to regain his spot. Then, two things happened: 1) AJ blew up, and 2) Darius got injured.
What I Expect From Him:
Well, first, he has to stay healthy. He had a breakout performance in our first game last year (5 catches for 119 yards and a touchdown against Arkansas State), but then a foot injury caused him to miss seven games (and he was never 100% healthy when he came back). Add to this his injuries during his freshman year (including spending all of Spring Ball 2011 in a walking boot), and staying healthy is the major concern with Millines.
IF he’s healthy (huge if), I think he can put up AJ’s junior year numbers. 56 catches for 746 yards and 7 TD’s. If I’m the coach (can I be the coach?), I’m getting him 56 touches and seeing if he can give me 750 yards and 7 touchdowns. If he’s not healthy, well, then we probably don’t have any other players on the roster that can fill that #1 receiver role. But he’s going to stay healthy. And he’s going to make me regret picking him 8th instead of 1st.