Illini looking to add Nittany Lions

CHAMPAIGN — The Illinois football team has been contacted by Penn State players, coach Tim Beckman said Wednesday.

Will there be any additions to the Illinois roster?

"It's way too early to tell," Beckman said.

On Monday, the NCAA freed all Penn State players to transfer without penalty to any other school. Normally, a transfer has to sit out a season before being allowed on the field. But with a four-year bowl ban and other penalties, that rule doesn't apply to Penn State players between now and the start of the 2013 season.

A group of Illinois coaches traveled to State College on Wednesday to communicate with some of the players, Illinois sports information director Kent Brown said. On Wednesday morning, UI athletic director Mike Thomas contacted his counterpart at Penn State, acting AD Dave Joyner, and said Illinois would be recruiting some of the players.

The Illini coaches were expected to return to Illinois later Wednesday.

Because of recruiting rules, Beckman isn't allowed to name specific players Illinois talked to.

Beckman and the coaches on his staff have recruited some of the Penn State players in the past. The Illini coaches are familiar with their high schools and, in certain cases, the families.

"I think that's probably everywhere," Beckman said.

Delayed entry. Beckman said former Lincoln-Way East receiver J.J. Robertson, expected to be a part of the Class of 2012, won't be with the team for the upcoming season.

"Not this semester," Beckman said.

Beckman said Robertson remains in the team's future.

"Definitely," Beckman said.

Robertson was the only listed receiver in the class. As a senior, he caught 39 passes for 881 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Changing field. As of late Wednesday morning, most of the old FieldTurf had been torn up at Memorial Stadium. On purpose.

A new FieldTurf is going in with an altered design. A Block I with the outline of the state will be at midfield. The green turf will alternate colors every 5 yards. The end zones will continue to be orange, with an underlined ILLINOIS in each.

Memorial Stadium had grass until 1985, when an AstroTurf surface was installed. That was replaced by AstroPlay in 2001 and FieldTurf in 2008.

Beckman said the work won't hamper his team's preparation for the 2012 season.

A new surface, with the same look, also will be installed at the Irwin Indoor Practice Facility.

Leman joins BTN team. The Big Ten Network announced Wednesday that former Illini J Leman will be on a broadcast team this season.

Leman, a Champaign Central product, will be a game analyst and sideline reporter during telecasts.

For the sixth year in a row, Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo and former Illini Howard Griffith will anchor the network's game-day studio coverage.

Comments

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Illini737 wrote on July 26, 2012 at 7:07 am

Going into Happy Valley during all the controversy swirling about their campus may not sit well with most folks but I like the aggressiveness of Thomas and Beckman.

OKOMIS wrote on July 26, 2012 at 9:07 am

Why wouldn’t it sit well? A freshmen, sophomore, junior or senior there now had nothing to do with what happened. The NCAA did the right thing by allowing them to transfer immediately. I too appreciate  Beckman’s aggressiveness as well giving a kid who did nothing wrong a chance

CelticIllini wrote on July 26, 2012 at 9:07 am

I have no truck with Illinois approaching PSU players, but I do hope Beckman and his staff are doing it the right way.  I've seen national reports that have Illini coaches going to Happy Valley, but at the same time, there's no mention that they're contacting PSU and telling them they're doing this, which is what they're supposed to do.  Were the shoe on the other foot, I would expect the same courtesy from other schools. 

We're Illinois.  We should be held to a higher standard and always take the high road.

Smitto wrote on July 26, 2012 at 10:07 am

Did you intentionally overlook this line?

 "Illinois sports information director Kent Brown said. On Wednesday morning, UI athletic director Mike Thomas contacted his counterpart at Penn State, acting AD Dave Joyner, and said Illinois would be recruiting some of the players."

ESPN reported yesterday that Bill O'Brien had not been contacted by Beckman, but changed their report this morning to show that the AD's had in fact spoke. There is no requirement that the coaches must speak.

Illiniwek88 wrote on July 26, 2012 at 5:07 pm

I agree with you. These guys were at B1G Media days and have a similar take. 

http://midwaymadness.com/2012/07/the-pursuit-of-penn-states-players/

Illiniwek88 wrote on July 26, 2012 at 5:07 pm

I agree with you. These guys were at B1G Media days and have a similar take. 

http://midwaymadness.com/2012/07/the-pursuit-of-penn-states-players/

OKOMIS wrote on July 26, 2012 at 10:07 am

It obviously has to be done the right way, like anything…. BUT I think it totally unfair to a young man there, stuck in a bad situation through no fault of their own because other schools are turning their noses at them for their public image.

pikapp wrote on July 26, 2012 at 12:07 pm

The artiificial turf was first put in after the 1974 fundraising drive to renovate Memorial Stadium and was replaced in 1985.

TheGallopingGhost77 wrote on July 26, 2012 at 12:07 pm

I don't understand why they had to wait until this late in the season to put in the new field?  Seems like it's going to be a disadvantage to the players who learned how the previous field played.  They should've done it this year or waited till next spring.