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Illinois redshirt junior QB Wes Lunt has "physical traits" that "immediately attracts the attention of pro scouts, consistently making NFL throw after NFL throw," CBS Sports' Dane Brugler observes.

"And while the statistics look promising (63.5-percent completions, 14:3 touchdown:interception ratio), Lunt underwhelmed last season, although he did show the potential to be one of the best passers in the conference. He has pro physical traits with his size, mobility and arm strength that immediately attracts the attention of pro scouts, consistently making NFL throw after NFL throw," Brugler writes. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Lunt passed for 1,763 yards, 14 TDs and three interceptions last season for Illinois. The former Oklahoma State transfer started off hot last season before he broke his leg in a loss to Purdue.
Source: CBS Sports
Jun 30 - 3:59 PM

CBS Sports' Dane Brugler believes Illinois senior CB V'Angelo Bentley "has football speed, smarts and swagger that will appeal to the next level."

"He doesn't have ideal size or timed speed, but he has football speed, smarts and swagger that will appeal to the next level. If Bentley can turn inconsistency into more production as a senior, he will make himself some money this season," Brugler writes. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound Bentley earned All-Conference Honorable Mention honors in 2014, posting 46 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, with three passes defended and one interception. Bentley also showcases play-making ability on special teams, as he led the Fighting Illini with 692 kick return yards and 123 punt return yards.
Source: CBS Sports
Jun 30 - 2:56 PM

Illinois redshirt senior Josh Ferguson "is much more talented than what it says on paper," CBS Sports' Dane Brugler observes.

"The Illinois' offense has struggled in recent years, especially on the ground, ranking 114th in the country last season in rushing. But that statistic doesn't accurately tell the tale of Ferguson, who is much more talented than what it says on paper," Brugler wrote. The 5-foot-10, 195-pound Ferguson rushed for 735 yards and eight touchdowns, while averaging 5.0 yards a carry in 2014. Ferguson was also a weapon in the passing game, adding in 50 receptions for 427 yards and two touchdowns for the Fighting Illini.
Source: CBS Sports
Jun 30 - 2:07 PM

NFL Media ranks Illinois senior CB V'Angelo Bentley as their No.15 versatile athletes in college football.

"He piled up more than 800 total return yards, including a 10-yard punt-return average. Defensively, Bentley scored on both an interception and a fumble return last year. Bentley was underappreciated on a 6-7 team last year, but he would play for a lot of the Big Ten schools ahead of Illinois in the standings," NFL.com's Chase Goodbread wrote. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound Bentley is a valuable asset to the the Fighting Illini, as he's a playmaker at cornerback and an impact player at both punt returner and kickoff returner on special teams.
Source: NFL.com
Jun 9 - 2:17 PM

NFL Media ranks Illinois HC Tim Beckman as having the No. 3 hottest seat in college football.

"Beckman guided the Illini to a minor bowl last season, which was a positive even though they lost to Louisiana Tech," wrote College Football 24/7 writer Mike Huguenin. "But offseason allegations of mistreatment of players has Beckman's seat red hot entering the season. Illinois has won a total four Big Ten games in Beckman's three seasons; three of his 12 wins as coach have come against FCS schools and two have come over MAC foes." Beckman is 12-25 in three seasons at Illinois. We expected him to get axed after last season, and predict further that it will take eight wins to spare him the gallows in 2015.
Source: NFL.com
Jun 2 - 9:26 PM

Former Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase has been hired to the school's staff as an assistant director of football operations.

Scheelhaase was offered the job last year and declined, leading to the hiring of another former Illini QB Juice Williams. Many times a position like this leads to a full-time assistant role, or the player moves on to another job in a year or two.
May 19 - 12:29 PM

Former Illinois defensive back Nick North said Illini head coach Tim Beckman "takes the cake as the worst coach I ever met."

The story is a doozy. North tore a PCL and then developed a cyst on his knee. He alleges that Beckman and his staff forced him to continue practicing hard on the bum knee. North's mom claims the school refused to pay for a pair of MRIs, though to be fair NCAA rules don't require them to do so. According to North, Beckman wanted him to sign a document releasing him from his scholarship, and when North wouldn't do so he was suspended. "He suspended me for a couple of days (in the fall of 2013)," North said. "For two weeks I took a drug test every day. He was blatantly trying to find something to kick me off the team." Two former Toledo players said that Beckman also threatened to yank scholarships at Toledo. We were surprised when Illinois decided to bring Beckman back in 2015. He might need eight wins next season to keep his post.
May 12 - 10:06 PM

Illinois sophomore WR Mike Dudek tore his ACL during spring activities.

ESPN's Brett McMurphy passes along word that Dudek's timetable to return is October. It is a major loss for the Illini, as Dudek caught 76 passes for 1,038 yards and six touchdowns. The injury occurred during practice.
May 7 - 10:50 AM

Illinois junior to be QB Aaron Bailey is expected to transfer.

The news comes on the heels of Wes Lunt being named the starter for the 2015 season. Bailey saw time in 14 games over two seasons, passing for 122 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Source: ESPN
Feb 10 - 10:08 AM

Illinois freshman WR Mike Dudek is a "burgeoning star," according to NFL.com.

With 69 catches for 965 yards and six touchdowns this season, Dudek has been one of the most productive freshmen in the nation. The early breakthrough has been a surprise, as Dudek was merely a three-star recruit by ESPN.com, Rivals, Scout and 247Sports. He's only 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, but Dudek has proved difficult for Big 10 corners to cover in 2014. Louisiana Tech's secondary will give it a try on Friday.
Source: NFL.com
Fri, Dec 26, 2014 01:11:00 PM

Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com reports that Illinois will retain head coach Tim Beckman in 2015.

Under Beckman's watch, the Illini have improved from two wins his first year to four in 2013, and then six (and bowl eligibility) in 2014. Illinois' six losses were mostly blowouts in 2014, so Beckman will have to take another step forward next season to spare himself the firing squad again.
Sun, Nov 30, 2014 05:47:00 PM

Illinois senior QB Reilly O'Toole will likely start against Northwestern rather than Wes Lunt.

It will be O'Toole's fifth start of the season. He has completed 58 percent of his passes for 902 yards and six touchdowns to go with six interceptions. The Illini have not produced consistent quarterback play this year.
Sat, Nov 29, 2014 11:28:00 AM

Illinois redshirt sophomore QB Wes Lunt completed 14 of 25 attempts for 102 yards and a touchdown in the school's 30-14 loss to Iowa.

Illinois was terrible in this one, and Lunt didn't help. A yards per attempts average of 4.1 is just atrocious. Lunt is draft-eligible, but his play certainly does not make it seem like he should make the NFL jump yet.
Sat, Nov 15, 2014 03:11:00 PM

Illinois redshirt sophomore QB Wes Lunt (ankle) will play against Iowa on Saturday.

Lunt fractured his fibula against Purdue in early October. He's made steady progress in rehab and will be ready to return for the Fighting Illini when they face the Hawkeyes this weekend. In his first five games, Lunt averaged 313 passing yards per game. Prior to the injury, he had thrown 13 touchdowns to three interceptions. "Now that I'm comfortable with putting weight on [the leg], it's no big deal," Lunt said. He wasn't worried about getting hit again. "That's football. I've been hurt multiple times. I know how to get back in the game."
Source: ESPN.com
Mon, Nov 10, 2014 07:09:00 PM

Illinois redshirt sophomore QB Wes Lunt (ankle) is expected to return to the field against Iowa on November 15.

Lunt, who suffered a fractured fibula earlier this month against Purdue, has shed his crutches and started a throwing routine. "Great. Awesome," Illini HC Todd Beckman said of Lunt. "We feel like there is a great possibility [for him] to be back after the open [week]." Senior Reilly O'Toole has completed 127-of-191 passes for 1,569 yards, 15 touchdowns, and five interceptions in Lunt's absence.
Mon, Oct 27, 2014 10:19:00 PM


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