UI roundup: Illini hire DL coach

CHAMPAIGN — Former Southern California graduate assistant coach Austin Clark is the pick to be the new Illinois defensive line coach, according to

Clark will replace Mike Phair, who left for a job with the Indianapolis Colts.

Clark, a former California defensive tackle, worked as a recruiting assistant with the Bears in 2015.

Lovie, Illini nearly wrap up 2018 class

CHAMPAIGN — New offensive coordinator Rod Smith, who joined the Illinois program Jan. 19, is already having an impact.

Of the five players signed by Lovie Smith on Wednesday, Rod Smith had a hand in two of them: running back Kenyon Sims and quarterback Matt Robinson.

The 24-player class includes three quarterbacks. Peoria's Coran Taylor and Californian Robinson signed Wednesday.

GCMS standout McNutt signs with Illinois football

GIBSON CITY — How could the 2017-18 school year get any better for Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley senior Mitch McNutt?

First, he was a key cog in the Falcon football team’s run to a Class 2A state championship. Then, he earned News-Gazette Player of the Year honors for piling up the area’s most rushing yards (1,693) and touchdowns (32), including a trio of scores in the title game.

LIVE! Signing Day: Part II

Injuries to Mike Epstein and Ra'Von Bonner last season proved there's no such thing as too many running backs. Enter a third California signee today alone.

Peoria QB set to officially join the Illini

PEORIA — Coran Taylor first made a commitment to the Illinois football program on April 3. Wednesday, more than 10 months later, it becomes official.

The Peoria quarterback will sign his national letter of intent at 7 a.m. At 9 a.m.. Taylor will participate in a signing ceremony at the school along with four other Lions.

Robinson sees 'great opportunity' at Illinois

CHAMPAIGN — The Illinois football roster currently has one quarterback listed: sophomore-to-be Cam Thomas.

But help is definitely on the way. Texan M.J. Rivers signed in December. And on Sunday, Matt Robinson from San Juan Capistrano (Calif.) JSerra Catholic agreed to join Lovie Smith's team.

Why Illinois?

Lovie adds to 2018 class

The majority of the 2018 recruiting class is already signed for the Illini.

Yet Lovie Smith's program added to its haul on Sunday by picking up verbal commitments from three-out-of-state players, including quarterback Matt Robinson.

'I'm going with the Patriots to win'

Christian DiLauro is trying to reach the NFL. And the 23-year-old former Illinois offensive lineman is giving The News-Gazette a weekly look into his journey. Here’s his fifth entry (catch the whole series at

Feb. 5 Bob Asmussen chat

Monday, February 5, 2018 - 10:00am

What are the priorities for the final spots in the Illinois recruiting class? When will Lovie Smith fill his coaching staff? How important is spring football for new offensive coordinator Rod Smith>

For the answers to these questions, and anything else on your mind,check in with our longtime Illinois football beat writer.