The eight schools that comprise the Southwestern Conference have produced 35 players who have earned a letter playing football at Illinois throughout its history.
The large-school Illinois high school league that is in the Metro St. Louis area, however, has never sent a player to Illinois from Belleville West.
Staff writer Matt Daniels' take on this weekend's Illinois spring game at Memorial Stadium:
WHAT WENT RIGHT
CHAMPAIGN — Bring out the jabs.
Corey Lewis has heard them before from his Illinois football teammates.
That the sixth-year offensive lineman was in Champaign when Ron Turner was in town from 1997 to 2004.
That the Cresco, Pa., native played along the line with former Illinois offensive line coach Luke Butkus from 1998 to 2001.
CHAMPAIGN — Walking near the weightroom inside Memorial Stadium this week, Bill Cubit didn’t break stride.
“Don’t say anything bad about me,” the new Illinois offensive coordinator joked to Illinois offensive lineman Corey Lewis while Lewis talked to a reporter.
Not much bad could come from the Illinois offense after Friday night’s annual spring game.
Jacksonville isn’t a place where a 6-foot-6-inch, 260-pound high school junior is hard to miss.
The west central Illinois town of just under 20,000 residents that sits a half-hour from the state capital of Springfield has a football player the Illinois coaching staff is hoping it won’t miss on.
Bring a blanket. And a heavy coat.
Temperatures will most likely be in the mid-30s Friday night when the Illinois football spring game kicks off at 8 (thanks BTN) in what is believed to be the first night spring game in Illinois history — and also the first one on a Friday.
The Illinois football team had 10 early enrollees arrive on campus once classes started in January.
From a depth perspective, Tim Beckman is probably giving thanks to this development.
With 18 players injured or unable to play in Friday night’s spring game, nearly half of the early enrollees are with either the first-team or second-team units so far.
Running backs are born. Watch a speedster juke a defender, break a tackle and you know. They have it or they don’t.
Linemen can be constructed. If the bulk is there, they can be developed if they’re willing.
The Illinois football team held its draft on Tuesday night to determine who would make up the Orange Team and Blue Team for its annual spring game, which takes place at 8 p.m. on Friday at Memorial Stadium.