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Illinois junior WR Malik Turner "is a reliable wideout with dependable hands," according to Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline.

"He consistently finds ways to separate from defenders and almost always comes away with the reception," Pauline wrote. "While he offers a good amount of next-level potential, Turner comes with average size and speed." Last season, Turner was an All-Big Ten honorable mention after leading the team in receptions (48), receiving yards (712) and receiving touchdowns (6). Pauline grades Turner as a sixth-rounder and believes he "could compete for a spot as the fourth or fifth receiver at the next level."
Jul 12 - 3:46 PM

Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline disagrees with NFL scouts who believe that Illinois senior T Christian DiLauro could fall to the sixth-ground.

DiLauro (6'5/300) started all 12 games at tackle last year and has made 31 straight starts. "DiLauro has nice length but is an average athlete who lacks the footwork and agility for left tackle as well as the pure power to play the strong side," Pauline wrote. "He could be an inexpensive utility backup on Sundays."
Jul 12 - 1:34 PM

Illinois received a verbal commitment from three-star 2018 WR Carlos Sandy.

"Sandy shows good bounce when releasing off the line of scrimmage, but needs to work on expanding his route tree," writes Scout.com's Corey Bender. "He shows no problem sticking his foot in the dirt to break off defenders, but has room to grow in that department." Measuring in at just 5-foot-9, 163 pounds, work in the weight room over the next year-plus figures to be paramount for Sandy if he is to make an immediate impact with Illinois in 2018.
Source: Scout.com
Jun 22 - 5:23 PM

Former Virginia Tech and JUCO redshirt junior QB Dwayne Lawson transferred to Illinois.

Lawson, a four-star recruit, left Virginia Tech after a pair of uneventful years and then spent a season at Hutchinson Community College. He signed with Illinois presumably hoping to push Chayce Crouch, who's recovering from shoulder surgery. HC Lovie Smith has already named Crouch the 2017 starter.
Source: 247 Sports
Jun 6 - 2:42 PM

Illinois sophomore DE Zarrian Holcombe was dismissed from the program after being charged with home invasion and robbery.

Holcombe got the boot along with Darta Lee and HoJo Watkins, who were charged with the same thing. Facing serious prison time -- a mandatory sentence of 4-15 years on each count if found guilty -- the players continue to contend that the incident was a prank gone wrong.
May 25 - 4:01 PM

Illinois freshman OL HoJo Watkins was one of three players dismissed from the program after being charged with home invasion and robbery.

Like OL Darta Lee and TE Zarrian Holcombe, Watkins faces a mandatory prison sentence of 4-15 years on each count if he's found guilty. The players claimed the incident was a prank.
May 25 - 2:52 PM

Illinois head coach Lovie Smith dismissed sophomore G Darta Lee.

Lee was one of three players dismissed from the program after being charged with home invasion and robbery. Each faces a mandatory prison sentence of 4-15 years on each count if found guilty. Lee was the first true freshman offensive lineman to start a season opener for Illinois in 20 years.
May 25 - 1:25 PM

Illinois HC Lovie Smith said that Illinois redshirt junior WR Mike Dudek (ACL) has been medically cleared to return to the field.

This is exciting news for Illini fans, who've patiently waited for Dudek to return to the field for the past two years. As a freshman back in 2014, Dudek dominated, snagging 76 passes for 1,038 yards and six touchdowns. He tore the ACL in his right knee in April 2015, knocking him out for that season, and then he tore the same ACL almost exactly a year later. "Mikey is totally cleared," Smith said. "He won’t go through any contact work until training camp. He’s running, doing everything right now. I don’t see any signs of anything wrong with the ACL sugery that he had. I see that same quickness that I’ve heard about, but never been able to see yet."
May 17 - 4:50 PM

Illinois DC Hardy Nickerson underwent an emergency appendectomy.

Nickerson tweeted on Friday afternoon that he had required the procedure. He had been out on a recruiting trip to Florida. Assuming a healthy recovery, this surgery should not affect his coaching outlook for the summer. Illinois hired the former Buccaneers LB coach to serve as defensive coordinator last March.
May 13 - 1:00 PM

Illinois freshman OL HoJo Watkins was one of three Illini players arrested on charges of home invasion and armed robbery on Wednesday.

Along with fellow Illinois football players Darta Lee and Zarrian Holcombe, Watkins has an arraignment scheduled for Thursday afternoon. All three are currently in the Champaign County jail. We'll update you when more is known.
May 10 - 4:42 PM

Illinois sophomore DE Zarrian Holcombe was one of three Illini players arrested on charges of home invasion and armed robbery on Wednesday.

Darta Lee and HoJo Watkins are, along with Holcombe, also currently in the Champaign County jail. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Holcombe played in seven games as a true freshman, mostly on special teams, while working as a tight end and wide receiver. During spring practices, Illinois experimented with him on the defensive line. The trio have arraignments scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
May 10 - 1:25 PM

Illinois sophomore G Darta Lee was arrested early Wednesday morning on charges of home invasion and armed robbery.

Lee played in six games with two starts. Beat writer Jeremy Werner notes Lee "was the first true freshman offensive lineman to start a season opener in 20 years." These are obviously significant charges.
Source: Scout
May 10 - 9:57 AM

Bengals signed Illinois LB Hardy Nickerson.

Nickerson (6’0/232) was a three-year starter at Cal before transferring to Illinois as a graduate student to play for his father and Lovie Smith in 2016. While a recognizable name because of his longtime NFL linebacker dad, Nickerson was a low-impact college Mike ‘backer who managed honorable mention All-Big Ten honors last year and especially struggled against the run. Nickerson tested poorly in Indy with 4.78 speed and a sluggish 9-foot-8 broad jump. Nickerson’s bloodlines are the best thing going for him.
May 2 - 3:28 PM

Jaguars signed Illinois DE Carroll Phillips.

Phillips (6’3/242) spent just 1-of-3 seasons as a starter at Illinois, breaking out in 2016 for 20 tackles for loss and nine sacks, but only earning honorable mention All-Big Ten from the conference’s coaches. A 25-year-old rookie who bounced between three colleges and managed a 10 Wonderlic score, Phillips is undersized with off-field flags. He tested as an adequate, 47th-percentile athlete in Indy, running 4.66 with a solid 7.06 three-cone time. A low-ceiling situational pass-rusher project, Phillips would do well to carve out a Mario Addison-like career.
May 2 - 1:05 PM

Jaguars selected Illinois DE Dawuane Smoot with the No. 68 overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft.

Smoot (6’3/264) made 24 starts on the Illini defensive line, graduating sixth in school history in tackles for loss (38.5) and eighth in sacks (16.5). He was only a third-team All-Big Ten pick as a senior despite finishing second in the conference in QB pressures (43). A disruptive college edge player who was inconsistent against the run, Smoot raised athleticism question marks with 29th-percentile SPARQ results in Indy. Smoot has a place in the NFL, but it’s likely not as a starter. He would do well to become a useful situational rusher.
Apr 28 - 9:50 PM


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