Patriots pick Karras, Bengals take Fejedelem

CHAMPAIGN — Ted Karras delivered a simple message after going through his pro-day workout in mid-March at the Irwin Indoor Facility.

“I gave my 40 (meter dash) cleats away,” the former Illinois offensive lineman said with a grin. “I’m never running that again.”

Fejedelem still eyeing NFL dream

CHAMPAIGN — The first three rounds of the NFL draft have passed without Clayton Fejedelem hearing his name called.

No worries. The former Illinois safety is used to getting overlooked.

“I’ve been the underdog my entire life,” the 22-year-old said. “Just give me an opportunity and I’ll make plays on the field.”

Ward lands with Raiders

Bill Cubit’s television was tuned to ESPN on Friday night. The former Illinois coach wouldn’t miss the NFL draft.

At his Florida home, Cubit watched Oakland take Illinois defensive lineman Jihad Ward 13th in the second round. Ward was the No. 44 overall pick and became the first Illini drafted since 2013.

May 2 Bob Asmussen chat

Monday, May 2, 2016 - 11:00am

What is next for Illinos football? Will Lovie Smith add a block of recruits in the coming months? Is Camp Rantoul gone forever? For the answer to these questions or anything else on your mind, check in with our longtime college football writer.

Will Ward go in first round?

The mock drafts will finally come to an end today, with the first round of the 2016 NFL draft set to get underway in Chicago at 7 p.m.

For the fourth consecutive year, sports editor Matt Daniels offers his projected first-round selections:

Curt Lovelace's wife tells of 'nightmare'

QUINCY — Each week, Christine Lovelace makes the 45-mile drive from the family home in Quincy to the Hancock County Jail in Carthage.

Behind a plate of glass, Christine and two of her sons Lincoln, 17, and Larson, 14, spend 30 minutes on the phone with her husband, former University of Illinois offensive lineman Curt Lovelace.

Tate: McGee needs helping hand

The passers will pass, and the runners will run.

That’s how the pros do it, and that’s how new Illini offensive coordinator Garrick McGee will operate next fall. With senior Wes Lunt returning at quarterback, the concept in the recently completed spring session was familiar even if the system is different.

April 28 Ask the Sports Editor chat

Thursday, April 28, 2016 - 2:00pm

Spring football has wrapped up, but recruiting will heat up for Lovie Smith. What are the Illini's biggest needs in the Class of 2017? Any updates on Leron Black, Jaylon Tate or Kendrick Nunn's status with the Illini? Did Cody Sedlock throw too many pitches last Friday night against Ohio State? Any question is fair game in sports editor Matt Daniels' weekly chat, which tips off at 2 p.m.

Nickerson wants to leave mark

CHAMPAIGN — It’s been five years since an Illinois linebacker was picked in the NFL draft. That’s a long time for the college home of Dick Butkus, Ray Nitschke, Dana Howard and Kevin Hardy.

Illini land pair of in-state recruits

CHAMPAIGN — Lovie Smith can’t specifically comment about Class of 2017 recruits until they sign a letter of intent.

Which means the new Illinois football coach isn’t able to speak publicly about the two in-state high school football players who orally committed to Illinois on Tuesday night until early February, when National Signing Day arrives.