Apr 14, 2012; Champaign, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini running back Josh Ferguson (6) is tackled by Illinois Fighting Illini defensive back TaJarvis Fuller (28) during the first half of the spring game at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-US PRESSWIRE
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Michael Buchanan has big shoes to fill next fall at Illinois.
The defensive end will have to fill the gap left by the departure of national sack leader Whitney Mercilus.
On Saturday, Buchanan looked ready to take over. He had four sacks and 11 tackles in the Illini spring game.
Illinois also got a surprise performance at running back. With top back Donovonn Young limited by injury, Josh Ferguson had 150 yards on 20 carries.
But Young and Ferguson are the only backs on the roster until four new recruits arrive later.
New Illinois coach Tim Beckman has talked since he was hired last year about the Illini's lack of depth.
Beckman was hired to replace the fired Ron Zook after the Illini finished 7-6 but lost their last six regular season games.
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