Sports

Sports

Tate: UNC's argument still doesn't add up

After exasperating years of retooling and reloading, the NCAA Committee on Infractions will pronounce its ruling on academic fraud at North Carolina next month.

Birdsell makes sure the Illini look good

Martin O'Donnell and Nick Allegretti talk football Saturday at 9 on WDWS.

CHAMPAIGN — Hardly anyone knows the inner workings of the Illinois football program for the last three decades better than John Birdsell.

Top 50 most important Illini No. 10: Jeff George Jr., QB

Why he's important: Illinois found out just how important it was to have multiple capable quarterbacks on the roster last season when both Wes Lunt and Chayce Crouch went down with injuries, and George was thrust into the top spot of the depth chart.

Strength in numbers

CHAMPAIGN — The McKinley Field weight room doesn't have enough room to fit the entire Champaign Central football team, so the Maroons are forced to lift outside.

The practice facility is barebones for a team that takes a bus to its home games at Centennial.

In a way, the minimalist nature of the Maroons' confines fits this year's team.

Top 50 teams in 2017: No. 10:Wisconsin

Coach: Paul Chryst

2016 record: 11-3

Projected 2017 record: 9-3

Circle the date: Nov. 18 vs. Michigan

Bowl trip: Holiday

Sticking with Illini pays off

CHAMPAIGN — Kendrick Foster considered transferring from Illinois after the 2015 season, going as far to announce as such on Twitter after the season ended in November. But the Peoria native ultimately stuck around and vaulted from career backup to the Illini's No. 1 running back.

PODCAST: SportsTalk 07-20-17

PODCAST: SportsTalk 07-20-17: Play now!

Scott Beatty and Marcus Jackson host the Thursday edition of Sports Talk. They talk with Mike Reeves.

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Foster named to Doak Walker watch list

CHAMPAIGN — Kendrick Foster considered transferring from Illinois after the 2015 season, going as far to announce as such on Twitter after the season ended in November. But the Peoria native ultimately stuck around and vaulted from career backup to the Illini's No. 1 running back.

Making the grade

CHAMPAIGN — Shari Clapp knows how well former Illini like Tyler Jay used to pitch before he developed into a first-round Major League Baseball draft pick in 2015.

Or how Jannelle Flaws, the Illinois soccer program's all-time leading scorer could score goals from anywhere on the field. Or how far Nick Hardy could drive a golf ball.

Pointing in right direction

CHAMPAIGN — Te’Jon Lucas’ first day of full contact last season doubled as Illinois’ first day of practice in early October.

The 6-foot point guard had been on campus since summer, but recovery from a pair of fractures in his right foot limited — seriously — just what he could do on the court before being cleared.