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Illinois graduate LB T.J. Neal will visit Auburn and West Virginia as he mulls his transfer options.

It's a given that Neal will transfer--news of it broke in late January--but his landing spot hasn't been determined yet. West Virginia will earn a visit from the 6-foot-1, 235-pounder on Monday, while he'll check out Auburn on February 15. At least from his public comments, it would seem he's leaning strongly toward joining the Tigers. Said Neal, "From my high school, I never thought I'd play at a big-time school like Auburn. To have a chance now, it's exciting to play against some of the top players in the country." Last season, he recorded 109 tackles (15 for loss) with a pair of sacks.
Source: al.com
Feb 6 - 7:18 PM

Rotoworld's Josh Norris listed Illinois DL Jihad Ward as the No. 32 overall prospect in the 2016 draft class.

Ward, who stands 6-foot-5 and 295 lbs, played on the edge and inside for Illinois. Although he wasn't a dominant player, Norris believes his projection suits the NFL's style very well. Ward began playing football in 10th grade and spent two seasons at the JUCO level. The Illinois product could test like a great athlete, only needing to run around a 4.85 to show impressive athleticism for that side. His ability to play on the edge in base then move inside in sub-package situations will serve Ward well.
Source: Rotoworld
Feb 4 - 11:08 AM

Illinois DL Jihad Ward " isn't the best athlete, but he played with great effort [during the Senior Bowl practice week]," writes ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay.

A JUCO transfer, Ward recorded 54 tackles (4.5 for loss), 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles this past season. The 6-foot-2, 295-pounder's strength comes in blowing up opposing running games rather than unleashing terror upon quarterbacks, but McShay notes that "while his tape says he's a better run-defender than edge rusher, he flashed a little in one-on-one pass-rushing drills."
Jan 31 - 1:33 PM

Illinois WR Geronimo Allison accepted an invite to the Senior Bowl.

Allison was part of some last-minute roster shuffling by the Senior Bowl to replace injured players. He's wholly deserving of the honor. Allison is just off a tremendous week down at the East-West Shrine Game. In fact, CBS Sports draft analyst Rob Rang wrote that he "made some money" in Florida. NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks called the 6-foot-4, 195-pound wideout "the most impressive player at East-West Shrine Game practices." Now, Allison will compete with a superior crop of defensive backs.
Jan 28 - 2:24 PM

Illinois senior DL Jihad Ward only started playing football in 10th grade.

Ward focused on basketball prior to that, calling the sport his first love. Because of his late entry to the sport, Ward believes he is still improving at a consistent rate. He idolizes Julius Peppers, and you can see it in his game. Ward is a near 300 lbs prospect with a long frame who plays both on the edge and inside. We expect his name to be singled out as this Senior Bowl week continues.
Source: Rotoworld
Jan 27 - 9:36 AM

Illinois graduate LB T.J. Neal will transfer.

"He’s graduating and he was talking about playing closer to home," coach Bill Cubit said. "That’s what he’s going to do. He’s a good kid and I respect his feelings about what he wants to do. I wish him all the luck." Neal, a two-year starter, ranked No. 2 on the squad with 109 tackles last year to earn honorable mention All-Big Ten recognition. Neal is from McKeeseport, Pa. "He’s a good football player," Cubit said. "Family is first. I understand."
Jan 26 - 3:07 PM

Illinois RB Josh Ferguson is "one of the better receivers among running backs in this class," according to Rotoworld's Josh Norris.

"Solely a role player, but you all know I like those," he wrote. "Ferguson is one of the better receivers among running backs in this class. A team might see Chris Thompson or Rex Burkhead. Other teams won’t consider that roster worthy." The 5-foot-10, 195-pound Ferguson caught 168 passes for 1,507 yards and eight touchdowns at Illinois. CBS Sports analyst Dane Brugler believes that he could possibly be an immediate impact player at the NFL level. NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock was impressed by Ferguson at Shrine Bowl practices, writing that "if you watch his change of direction, he really pops."
Source: Rotoworld
Jan 25 - 4:22 PM

CBS Sports draft analyst Rob Rang wrote that Illinois WR Geronimo Allison "made some money" through his performance in Saturday's East-West Shrine Game.

"For a tall receiver," Rang wrote, "Allison shows impressive initial burst to get cornerbacks turning, enough agility to make defenders miss on an end-around and strength and competitiveness as a downfield blocker." The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Illinois product caught six passes for 68 yards and a pair of scores in Saturday's annual post-postseason contest. Draft analyst Rang highlighted one of his more impressive plays--one that had nothing to do with catching the ball--as Allison made a sound tackle on Florida LB Anthony Hartrell after the Gator picked off QB Brandon Doughty. "Allison's all-around game during the week earned him high marks from scouts," Rang concluded.
Source: CBS Sports
Jan 24 - 1:42 PM

Illinois RB Josh Ferguson rushed for 33 yards on eight carries in Saturday's East-West Shrine Game.

Ferguson averaged 4.1 YPC with a long run of nine yards. The 5-foot-10, 195-pound prospect also caught four passes for 11 yards. His cutting ability and activity in the receiving game make him a legitimate prospect (if not an elite one), as he could enter the NFL and make a quick impact as a third-down back. In five seasons at Illinois, he caught 168 passes for 1,507 yards and eight touchdowns.
Jan 23 - 8:50 PM

Illinois WR Geronimo Allison caught six passes for 68 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday's East-West Shrine Game.

Earlier this week, NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks called Allison "the most impressive player at East-West Shrine Game practices." The 6-foot-4, 195-pound wideout did nothing on Saturday to dissuade that notion. Indeed, Brooks' colleague Mike Mayock tossed Allison onto his Made Money team, as he thinks the former Illini receiver certainly could have boosted his draft stock with what he's done over the last week. He's not necessarily a burner, but provides a nice level of athleticism.
Jan 23 - 7:47 PM

NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks wrote that Illinois WR Geronimo Allison "has been the most impressive player at East-West Shrine Game practices."

"As a precise route runner, Allison has consistently gotten open and displayed strong hands when snatching the ball out of the air," Brooks noted, adding that "if he performs to the level that he has shown throughout the week, he could walk away with some hardware at the end of the game." The 6-foot-4, 195-pound wideout logged 65 catches for 882 yards and three touchdowns this past season. While he averaged a modest 13.6 yards per reception, Brooks is keen on his fluid athleticism.
Source: NFL.com
Jan 23 - 2:24 PM

NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock was impressed by Illinois RB Josh Ferguson in Wednesday's Shrine Bowl practice, writing that "if you watch his change of direction, he really pops."

Mayock indicated that he's now gung-ho to dig into more Ferguson film. "He's kind of a third-down change-of-pace guy who needs to catch the football, and he does it effortlessly," noted the draft guru. And that's a very true statement. The 5-foot-10, 195-pound NFL-hopeful notched 168 total catches in his five seasons with the Illini, good for 1,507 yards and eight touchdowns. CBS Sports analyst Dane Brugler believes that he could possibly be an immediate impact player at the NFL level.
Source: NFL.com
Jan 21 - 3:28 PM

NFL Media's Mike Mayock says Illinois S Clayton Fejedelem has "been all around the ball for two days now" at Shrine Game practices.

This isn't a surprise, as Fejedelem was a collegiate tackling machine. "He had 140 tackles this past season so you knew coming in that he was a tough guy," Mayock wrote. "And he is. But it has been nice to see him around the ball, making plays in the passing game." Fejedelem was a NAIA transfer who walked on at Illinois. If he gets drafted, it will have been quite the meteoric rise.
Source: NFL.com
Jan 20 - 4:48 PM

Illinois junior D.J. Smoot applied for a grade from the NFL Draft Advisory board but will likely return to school for the 2016 season.

Jihad Ward is the Illinois defensive lineman who received more attention for most of the season, however, Smoot posted production and popped out whenever watching the Illini. If you need a game to watch, check out Smoot versus Iowa. Illinois will be coached by Bill Cubit in 2016.
Tue, Dec 15, 2015 02:18:00 PM

Illinois redshirt senior RB Josh Ferguson accepted an invite to the Shrine Game.

Ferguson also accepted an invite to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl earlier this week. The 5-foot-10, 195-pound redshirt senior ran for 708 rushing yards and three touchdowns during Illinois' 5-7 season (the Illini may still get a bowl berth as the NCAA looks to fill 80 slots), though he was held out for three games with injury. The NFL will appreciate his receiving skill out of the backfield. Ferguson has never finished with fewer than 29 catches in four seasons and had 50 twice. Ferguson "has the ability to see immediate action as a rookie next season," CBS Sports' Dane Brugler wrote last month.
Thu, Dec 3, 2015 07:04:00 PM


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