Staples played the "bandit" position in the previous Illinois defensive scheme, and despite the recent off-field problems with Staples, the new Illini head coach, Tim Beckman, appears to still have plans for him. In a recent interview with ESPN's Big Ten Blog, Beckman named Staples as a possible breakout candidate in the 2012-13 season:
There's a possibility of a Justin Staples or a Timmy Kynard or a Brandon Denmark [making tremendous strides]. All of our defensive ends have had outstanding winter workouts, and now they've got to prove it on the field during spring.
The Illini will kick off their spring action on April 14th with their annual navy and blue exhibition game. It is unclear whether or not Staples will participate.