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The Green Bay Packers hired Illinois LB coach Tim McGarigle to serve in the same capacity.

McGarigle was hired by Illinois last January, as part of then-HC Bill Cubit's sideline. When Cubit was replaced by Lovie Smith in the spring, Smith opted to keep McGarigle on staff. In a statement regarding his jump to the NFL, Smith said, "Tim is a terrific defensive coach and excellent communicator. I have no doubt he’ll have a very successful career." In that same statement, it was indicated that Illinois will try to fill that hole in their staff before the start of spring practice on February 14.
Feb 3 - 7:55 PM

NFL.com's Lance Zierlein spoke with an NFL defensive line coach who was impressed with Illinois edge rusher Dawuane Smoot.

The position coach was not impressed with Smoot's tape prior to the all star game, but added "he was one of the most impressive pass rushers I saw." In fact, the defensive line coach thinks Illinois' scheme is to blame for Smoot's poor tape. Smoot looked great in 2015, under a different coach, but he does not appear to be a dynamic athlete. Instead he is a counter rusher who will rely on multiple moves, hand placement and a positional advantage.
Source: NFL.com
Feb 3 - 10:11 AM

Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline says Illinois edge rusher Carroll Phillips "didn’t miss a beat" while practicing as an OLB on Tuesday.

Phillips mostly played defensive end for the Illini, but Senior Bowl coaches want to see how he fairs standing up. So far, so good. "Phillips showed his patented speed and quickness up the field rushing the passer as well as a good change of direction and lateral pursuit skills," Pauline wrote. "He also did a solid job dropping off the line of scrimmage in coverage drills and covered a lot of area. Though his ball skills need work, Phillips did not embarrass himself." Phillips finished second in the FBS with 20 tackles for loss this past season and led the Illini with nine sacks. He earned First-Team All-Big Ten honors.
Jan 25 - 2:55 PM

Illinois QB Wes Lunt completed 11-of-14 passes for 101 yards in Saturday's East-West Shrine Game.

Lunt was on point with his completions and averaged a respectable 7.1 YPA. His 101 yards passing led all quarterbacks in the contest. The 6-foot-5, 225-pounder was injury-prone during his collegiate career with the Illini, but it's not inconceivable that he could see late-round draft interest as a potential backup developmental project.
Jan 21 - 6:12 PM

Illinois DE Dawuane Smoot accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl.

Smoot had a slightly disappointing campaign after getting first-round steam in the preseason. Even so, the All-Big Ten honoree matched his junior total of 15.0 tackles for loss.
Source: Senior Bowl
Jan 8 - 11:31 AM

Illinois edge rusher Carroll Phillips accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl.

Phillips came out of nowhere as a first-year starter for HC Lovie Smith to finish second in the FBS with 20.0 tackles for loss. He also led the team with 9.0 sacks en route to First-Team All-Big Ten honors.
Source: Senior Bowl
Jan 6 - 5:01 PM

Illinois received a verbal commitment from four-star 2017 DE Owen Carney.

"When I call one coach – no matter who I call – I get to talk to all the coaches, so I feel like I have a relationship with everyone," Carney explained. "I feel like that with the guys that aren’t my position coach or even on my side of the ball. They all know me. It’s a family thing." Scout.com refers to the 6-foot-3, 231-pounder as "a gifted pass rusher [who] provides nice closing speed and athleticism when busting through the offensive line." They believe he needs to continue to hone his disengagement of blocks as he develops with the Illini.
Source: Rivals
Mon, Dec 26, 2016 12:16:00 PM

Illinois sophomore WR Desmond Cain plans to transfer.

Cain produced a 53-492-1 receiving line as a freshman in 2015, but his sophomore campaign was a disappointment due to a knee issue. Due to that ailment, Cain only logged five catches for 61 yards and a touchdown. Cain explained he hopes to continue his career closer to his home in Florida.
Fri, Dec 2, 2016 09:41:00 AM

Illinois redshirt senior QB Wes Lunt has accepted an invitation to the East-West Shrine Game.

Injury, including a back injury suffered against Purdue in early October, forced Lunt to miss four games this season. When healthy, the 6-foot-5, 225-pounder threw for 1,376 yards (54.7% completions) with an 8/3 TD/INT ratio. He holds a 42/19 TD/INT ratio for his four-year Illini career. The East-West Shrine Game will be played on January 21, 2017.
Tue, Nov 29, 2016 06:59:00 PM

Illinois junior WR Malik Turner caught 11 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday's 42-21 loss to Northwestern.

Illinois might have lost their ninth game of the season on Saturday, but that takes nothing away from Turner's superlative effort. The Illini trailed 21-0 early in the second quarter but made multiple pushes to turn it into a game, with Wes Lunt's nine-yard scoring pass to Turner in the third quarter drawing Lovie Smith's crew to within 28-21. The fun would stop there, as Illinois would not score again in the contest. For his part, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Turner wraps up his season having caught 48 passes for 712 yards and six touchdowns.
Sat, Nov 26, 2016 04:45:00 PM

Illinois redshirt junior RB Kendrick Foster is doubtful to return to Saturday's game against Northwestern due to a leg injury suffered early in the first quarter.

Foster went down without contact after taking a handoff on Illinois' first offensive possession of the game. With the 5-foot-9, 200-pounder looking unlikely to return to action, Reggie Corbin has taken the bulk of rushing work in his absence. Northwestern leads the Illini 21-14 with the second half set to get underway.
Sat, Nov 26, 2016 01:55:00 PM

Illinois redshirt junior RB Kendrick Foster rushed for 146 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries in Saturday's 31-27 win over Michigan State.

In a showdown between 2-6 squads (deep breaths, Sparty nation, deep breaths), Illinois managed to claw out their second Big Ten victory. Foster was instrumental in that effort. The 5-foot-9, 200-pounder's first touchdown came on a 19-yard run with 20 seconds remaining in the first half. His second was considerably longer, as he found pay dirt from 64 yards out early in the third quarter. This was Foster's third 100-yard rushing effort of the 2016 season and represented his most prolific yardage output of the campaign.
Sat, Nov 5, 2016 04:03:00 PM

Illinoi junior WR Malik Turner (concussion) is questionable for Saturday's game against Michigan State.

Turner sustained a concussion across the middle while catching a pass against Minnesota on Saturday. The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder was subsequently placed in the concussion protocol. While Turner has done a respectable job in a tough spot this season (35 catches for 523 yards and four touchdowns in eight games), the Illini offense just doesn't offer enough punch for fantasy value, here, even if Turner is medically cleared to play.
Fri, Nov 4, 2016 03:11:00 PM

Illinois junior WR Malik Turner has been placed in the concussion protocol.

Turner was knocked out on a grab over the middle in Saturday's loss to Minnesota. He ultimately had to be carted off the field. On his weekly radio show, HC Lovie Smith relayed that the 6-foot-1, 205-pound junior suffered a concussion on the play. In eight games this season, Turner is working to a 35-523-4 receiving line. His status for Illinois' contest against Michigan State remains up in the air, but should receive some clarity as the practice week progresses.
Tue, Nov 1, 2016 01:11:00 PM

Illinois HC Lovie Smith refuted an ESPN report which deemed him to be "miserable" and a potential one-and-done coach.

Smith served as an experienced option when Illinois hired him in March, but experience or otherwise, the results just haven't been there for the Illini this season. Smith's crew has stumbled out to a 2-6 record, with losses in six of their last seven games. Despite this ugliness, the coach insisted that he isn't throwing in the towel. Said Smith, "My time in Champaign, it's a little bit bigger than where we are right now. Our football team, we're going to win a lot of games eventually, and there's not much more than that." He added, "I would not get into speculation at all" when asked about ESPN's report that he is considering leaving Illinois after the close of the 2016 regular season.
Source: CSN Chicago
Tue, Nov 1, 2016 12:28:00 PM


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