Hawkeyes Marvin McNutt, Illini Whitney Mercilus on College Football All-Name Team

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With a name like Mercilus, pronounced merciless, you have to be a college football player. And a player at the very aggressive attacking position of defensive end too- that helps. Illinois Fighting Illini junior DE Whitney Mercilus is just that; a man with a name built for his role like former Illini OL Eric Block, or current Buffalo Bills DB Reggie Corner.

“I do get a lot of comments, I just walk in public, and people hear my name, and they’re like really? Mercilus that’s your last name? Yeah, it’s a cool last name and you have to play with a name like mine,” Mercilus said.

If there’s one thing the coaches could change with Whitney, it’s getting him to be less timid.

“Yeah, it’s very opposite of my name. Same thing my teammates and former teammates have told me- You’ve got to play more aggressive, stop thinking, go faster, yo look at your last name. It makes no sense for you to be playing like this,” Mercilus said at media day.

Mercilus is joined on college football’s best names in the Big Ten by Iowa Hawkeyes receiver Marvin McNutt.

McNutt is kind of like former West Virginia Mountaineers college basketball star Kevin Pittsnogle- a college star who won’t do anything in the pros, but has quite a cult following; partially because of his unique name. McNutt is a star player, and he’ll have to take on a large role this season, as the Hawkeyes are very young at the skill positions. He’s one of the few guys with experience, so he’ll need to be a leader.

“We know what we signed up for when we signed on at Iowa, there’s no NFL team here, so eyes are all focused on you. When you do something good, it’s going to be put out there, but at the same time when you do something on the negative site- it’s all going to be given more attention than normal,” McNutt said.

McNutt listed Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Chad Ochocinco, Braylon Edwards, Terrell Owens, and Hines Ward among his NFL WR role models.

“They’ve been in the league awhile, and they’re still doing it, which is impressive.” McNutt said.

Marvin wears #7, which is of course reminiscent of Iowa QB legend Brad Banks, a 2002 Heisman finalist. He

Mercilus models his game after Julius Peppers and Dwight Freeney. He started two games last season, but will be in a full time starter’s role this season. His playing time and production will both rise due to this being another year in Vic Koenning’s system.

“Getting more comfortable to it, not having to think a lot, playing faster, not having to ask the coach what’s going on a specific play, he’s putting in more blitzes in, and I feel we’re getting there,” Whitney said.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports 

He does regular weekly radio spots in Chicago and Cleveland and has appeared on live shows all across the world from Houston to New Zealand. You can follow him on Twitter

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