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.