Chicago Sun-Times
With Sun-Times sports reporter Herb Gould

Recently in Jonathan Brown Category

            Intent on reviving an lllinois football program that went 2-10 in his first season, coach Tim Beckman announced the signing of five junior-college players on Wednesday.

            One of the recruits, 290-pound defensive tackle Abe Cajuste, could come in handy. Junior Akeem Spence is expected to announce he will forego his senior season and enter the NFL draft this week.

            Linebacker Jonathan Brown, who also has a bright pro future, has decided to return for his senior season after struggling through an injury-filled 2012 campaign.

            Cajuste, from Miami, Fla., by way of Victor Valley (Calif.) College, ``gives us a big body on the defensive line,'' Beckman said. ``He will help add depth with the departure of several key seniors from the line.''

            Illinois will lose 7-1/2 starters on defense, including all but one co-starter, Tim Kynard, on the defensive line. It could return nine starters on offense, but is losing its two best linemen, Graham Pocic and Hugh Thornton.

            Beckman is expected to bring in approximately 28 players, including JuCos and high-school signees during this recruiting season.

            Two of the junior-college signees are defensive backs from California: safety Zane Petty, from American River College, and star (hybrid safety/linebacker) Eric Finney, from College of the Canyons.

            Illinois has not gone the junior-college route often since Mike White ran a successful California junior-college pipeline in the '80s. Since then, two of Illinois' most prominent JuCos have been defensive backs--Trulon Henry, who completed his career a year ago, and Kelvin Hayden, who played in Champaign in 2003-04 and is now with the Bears.

            The other two signees are offensive players: wide receiver Martize Barr, from Washington, D.C., by way of New Mexico and Iowa Western C.C.; and lineman Dallas Hinkhouse, also from Iowa Western.

            Beckman opted to postpone a press briefing until next month, when up to five high-school recruits are expected to enroll at Illinois to participate in spring practice. The new coach enthusiastically welcomed the junior-college signees in a statement, though.

            ``The most exciting part is that they fill immediate needs for us,'' Beckman said. ``They all play a different position of need and are spread across all areas of the team. The fact that we were able to go throughout the country and sell Illinois football to these young men and their families shows the work ethic and commitment from our staff.''


Linebacker Jonathan Brown was suspended Monday by coach Ron Zook for one game for kneeing Northwestern lineman Patrick Ward in the groin. He'll sit out Illinois' trip to Indiana Saturday.
The Big Ten announced its support of the Brown suspension. In effect, the league was saying it won't add more penalties. The BTN capture of the incident can  be found on Youtube. . .
``He's a good person,'' Zook said of Brown, who's tied for second in Illini tackles and sixth in the Big Ten in tackles for loss, ``but he got caught up in the moment, made a serious mistake and must deal with the consequences."
Brown apologized to his family, teammates, Illinois fans and NU, saying, ``What I did was out of character and won't happen again."
Brown, a sophomore from Memphis who was named Big Ten defensive player of the week on Sept. 19, is expected to be replaced by Houston Bates, who was named the league's freshman of the week on Sept. 5.
* Illini WR AJ Jenkins shared BT player-of-the-week honors Monday with Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson. Jenkins' 268 receiving yards were the all-time third most in a Big Ten game.
* Illinois' home game vs. Ohio State will begin at 2:30 pm CDT and be televised by Ch. 7 in Chicago.

Clearly very disappointed with Jonathan Brown, Ron Zook would not rule out sitting the sophomore linebacker at Indiana Saturday.
``I'm gonna deal with it,'' Zook said tersely Sunday, a day after Brown was caught on television kneeing Northwestern lineman Patrick Ward in the groin. Not only were two officials, who called a personal foul for unsportsmanlike conduct, watching. The incident has been preserved on Youtube.
```I can guarantee you will never see that again,'' Zook said. `He knows better than that. Our team knows better than that.
Although Zook wouldn't go into details, it's possible Brown won't start, but will play at IU.
Brown is sixth in the Big Ten in tackles for loss. Teammates Michael Buchanan (t-3rd) and Whitney Mercilus (5th) also are in the top six for Illinois' gritty defense, which is second in the Big Ten agains the run (79 yards a game) and tied for second with six interceptions.
Mercilus (five sacks) and Buchanan (four) are the Big Ten's top two in sacks. And cornerback Terry Hawthorne is tied for second in passes defended, with five passes broken up and one interception.

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