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Illinois sophomore QB Jeff George Jr. completed 12-of-22 passes for 211 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions in Friday's 47-23 loss to USF.

George was called in off the bench for an ineffective Chayce Crouch (8-of-18, 76 yards, interception) in the second half. He wasn't that much better, but did lead the Illini on a pair of touchdown drives in the fourth quarter. Illinois will be off on bye next weekend, so they'll have time to sort through their options -- as they were -- before they tango with Nebraska on September 29.
Sep 16 - 12:06 AM

Illinois freshman RB Mike Epstein rushed for 56 yards and a touchdown on eight carries in Friday's 47-23 loss to South Florida.

That Epstein's eight carries led the team tells you just about all you need to know regarding how this game went for the Illini. Poorly. It went poorly. As a team, Illinois managed just 15 first downs while losing the time of possession battle 38:17 to 21:43. For his part, the 6-foot, 195-pound Epstein turned in the vast bulk of his rushing yardage on a 45-yard touchdown sprint in which he found a crease up the middle and burst down the right sideline for glory. He also hauled in a nice 21-yard scoring grab in the fourth quarter, though the game was well out of reach at that point. Epstein has now rushed for 221 yards and three touchdowns over the first three games of the season.
Sep 15 - 11:46 PM

Illinois OC Garrick McGee called freshman TE Louis Dorsey "a talent."

"He’s very savvy, understands football. He can really run, jump and catch. We’re looking forward to getting him out there," McGee said of the three-star freshman. While he has just two catches to his name through the first two weeks of the season, Dorsey (6'6/225) could have a larger role in Friday's showdown with USF, as Nate Echard will miss that game due to a knee injury.
Source: Scout.com
Sep 13 - 9:04 PM

Illinois redshirt senior TE Nate Echard (knee) will likely miss Friday's game against USF.

Echard (6'2/245) sustained the knee injury in a win over Western Kentucky on Saturday. He has two catches for 19 yards to his name this season. True frosh TE Louis Dorsey -- whom the Illini think very highly of -- figures to see increased work in his place. There is no current timetable for Echard's return.
Source: Scout.com
Sep 13 - 6:43 PM

Illinois offensive coordinator Garrick McGee announced that freshman RB Mike Epstein will start this weekend against Western Kentucky.

Epstein rushed for 54 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries in Saturday's 24-21 win over Ball State, adding another 32 yards through the air. For now, he has hopped senior Kendrick Foster on the depth chart.
Sep 8 - 3:20 PM

Illinois freshman RB Mike Epstein rushed for 54 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries in the school's 24-21 win over Ball State.

Epstein added another 32 yards in the air. Look for Epstein to be the focal point of Illinois' offense as a true freshman. This game was embarrassingly close for Illinois, but they have a least one win to their name in 2017.
Sep 2 - 3:29 PM

Illinois sophomore LB Jake Hansen will undergo surgery for a knee injury.

Illini HC Lovie Smith termed Hansen's knee injury a "significant" one. There is no current timetable for the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder's return to action, but this sounds like it could keep him out for an extended amount of time, if not the entire season. Hansen appeared in all 12 of Illinois' games last season, working mostly on special teams. He was a three-star recruit in the 2016 class.
Aug 22 - 8:30 PM

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


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