Bob Asmussen

Bob Asmussen

Asmussen | Special player has potential to elevate Illini program

CHAMPAIGN — The upside for the latest Illinois basketball recruit is obvious. Kofi Cockburn stands 7 feet tall and weighs 290 pounds. That’s “block the sun” kind of size.

“He’s a great piece to our puzzle,” Illinois coach Brad Underwood said Thursday at the Ubben Basketball Complex. “He’s a very gifted young man.

Asmussen | Ford's case shows inconsistencies in NCAA eligibility decisions

#FreeLukeFord didn’t work. At least, not so far.

On Wednesday, the Georgia transfer tight end was denied immediate eligibility at Illinois by the NCAA. Instead of being on the field in 2019, the Carterville native will have to spend games on the sidelines. Until 2020.

Who's No. 1? Bob Asmussen's mock NFL draft

News-Gazette columnist Bob Asmussen started following the NFL draft before ESPN began its expansive coverage. Here are his picks for today's first round, which begins at 7 p.m. on ABC, ESPN, NFL Network from Nashville, Tenn: 

Illini tight end Ford denied immediate eligibility

Illinois tight end Luke Ford, a transfer from Georgia, has been denied immediate eligibility, both the athlete and Illini announced Wednesday.

Around 3:30 p.m., Ford tweeted: “My Waiver got denied... Thanks for all your support,” followed by a sad-face emoji. The tweet then continued: “It’s all in the Lord’s timing,” with a praying emoji.

Asmussen | With Ayo back for more, hype builds around Illini

Illinois fans looking for even more positive news after Kofi Cockburn signed with the Illini on Tuesday night should check out Sunday's Lansing State Journal.

Asmussen | Fleet-footed Illini icon Virgin returns home

It's going to be a busy week for Craig Virgin.

The Illinois track and cross-country icon — part of the first class for the school's athletic Hall of Fame — loves to talk about running.

Third and long: Projecting the first Big Ten players to go in the NFL Draft

Our college football writer is counting down the days until the 2019 season. Here are the Big Ten players he projects to be the first off the board in Thursday's NFL draft:

1. Nick Bosa, Ohio State

Defensive end considered by some to be top talent in this year's class. If he stays healthy, Buckeyes phenom has potential to be a multiyear All-Pro.

Four downs: Former Illini offensive lineman Christian DiLauro

Illinois football beat writer Bob Asmussen chatted with former Illini offensive lineman Christian DiLauro, who will be keeping a close eye on this week's NFL draft. Originally signed by the Cleveland Browns, he joined the San Francisco 49ers in late September. The tackle from Ohio is looking for playing time this season:

First and 10: Asmussen's 10 best Big Ten pro quarterbacks

With the NFL draft just around the corner, our college football writer ranks the all-time best Big Ten pro quarterbacks:

1. Tom Brady, Michigan

Six Super Bowl rings makes him the king from any conference. He has thrown for 70,000 yards and will likely finish second on the career list.

Asmussen | While Ford waits on NCAA's decision, Illini fans voice their support

CHAMPAIGN — Eventually, the NCAA will make a call. The organization will decide if tight end Luke Ford can play this season at Illinois.

All Ford can do is wait. And hope.

He is trying not to dwell on it.

"I'm just pushing it in the back of my mind at this point," Ford said. "Whatever they come back and say, I don't have any control over it."