Illinois football once had so much promise.
One of the biggest building blocks was a fresh-faced young corner from Crete-Monee near Chicago. An under the radar signing in the class of 2013, Dunlap built himself into one of the more reliable defenders on the team, usually working against the top receiver on the opposing team. His ball skills never presented themselves, however, as the other team rarely threw in his direction. His 2014 season was also marred by injury, as he watched from the sidelines as his teammates made a bowl run, ultimately losing to Louisiana Tech in the Heart of Dallas game.
Dunlap has seen it all here, as he's experienced the highs of winning (rare) to the lows of a winless Big Ten season. Coaching changes, defensive scheme changes, you name it and Dunlap has seen it. Through it all, Jaylen Dunlap has been the steady presence, cheering his teammates on and bleeding Orange and Blue.
Finally, after a couple seasons of solid defensive play, with no personal reward (i.e. an interception), he finally got his against Indiana this season
It was a nightmare season for all intents and purposes for the Fighting Illini, but it was nice to see some individual success for a player whose loyalty to the University is unquestioned. I'm sure like all players, Dunlap is looking for an opportunity to continue playing the game he loves. Either way, he'll definitely succeed outside the game, for he has seen it all here at the University of Illinois.