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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Illinois
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  Chase Brown rushed for 129 yards, Tommy DeVito had three short touchdown keepers and Illinois trounced Wisconsin 34-10 on Saturday to give coach Bret Bielema a triumphant return to Camp Randall Stadium. Illinois (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) scored 17 points off Wisconsin turnovers and scored the game's final 27 points to win as a 6½-point underdog. The Illini sacked Graham Mertz six times and held the Badgers to 2 yards rushing on 24 carries. Bielema had gone 68-24 in seven years as Wisconsin's coach before leaving for Arkansas at the end of the 2012 regular season as the Badgers were preparing for a Rose Bowl appearance. Wisconsin won at least a share of the Big Ten title each of his last three seasons.

He was fired at Arkansas in 2017 after going 29-34 and took over Illinois' program in December 2020. The Badgers won 24-0 at Illinois last season, but this was the first time Bielema had faced Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium. Bielema was the first coach to take an opposing Big Ten team to a school he coached to a Big Ten title since John Pont coached Northwestern in a 1973 game at Indiana. Pont had led Indiana to a share of the 1967 Big Ten crown. Bielema received a smattering of boos when his name was announced in the pregame introductions, though the stands were less than 20% full at that point about half an hour before the 11 a.m. local time kickoff. A much larger crowd showed significantly more displeasure as the Badgers got dismantled for a second straight week. Wisconsin (2-3, 0-2) was coming off a 52-21 loss at No. 3 Ohio State. - Illinois/AP College Football


rJr/2024 RB Chase BrownIllinois
News Source: Illinois/AP College Football
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  Illinois' Chase Brown remains the national rushing leader at 151 yards per game after running for a season-low 108 against Chattanooga, and Washington's Michael Penix Jr. is first in passing yards at 347 per game, a half yard ahead of Mississippi State's Will Rogers. SMU's Rashee Rice tops the receiving chart at 141.3 yards per game. - AP College Football

rJr/2024 RB Chase BrownIllinois
News Source: AP College Football
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  Chase Brown became the first Illinois running back to rush for 100-plus yards in five straight games, Tommy DeVito passed for 329 yards and three touchdowns and the Fighting Illini blanked Chattanooga 31-0 on Thursday night. Illinois improved to 3-1 and is off to its best start since 2015. Brown capped a five-play, 64-yard scoring drive with a 9-yard touchdown run after the defense forced Chattanooga (3-1) into a three-and-out on its first drive. He finished with 108 rushing yards on 20 carries and currently leads all FBS rushers with 604 yards through four games. The closest the Mocs came to scoring came early in the second quarter when they drove to the Illinois 16-yard line. Jartavius Martin picked off a Preston Hutchinson pass in the end zone to end the Mocs' threat. The Illini recorded their first shutout since a 2015 win over Western Illinois.

Chattanooga went just 4 of 14 on third downs and gained 142 total yards. Illinois piled up 502 yards of offense. Hutchinson was sacked four times and completed just 6 of 18 passes for 49 yards with two interceptions. Illinois nearly quadrupled Chattanooga's total first-half yardage, 332 yards to 84 yards, and led 24-0 at intermission. Thursday night marked the first time in Illinois football history that two receivers tallied more than 100 receiving yards and a running back ran for more than 100 yards in the same game. Pat Bryant caught six passes for 112 yards and a touchdown, while Isaiah Williams hauled in nine passes for 103 yards and a score. Williams' 63-yard touchdown off a screen pass made it 31-0 with 4:56 left in the third. DeVito became the first Illinois quarterback to pass for more than 300 yards in a game since Brandon Peters threw for 369 yards at Michigan State in 2019. - Illinois/AP College Football


rJr/2024 RB Chase BrownIllinois
News Source: Illinois/AP College Football
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  Illinois's Chase Brown is well on his way to a second straight 1,000-yard rushing season. Brown has 504 yards through three games and leads the nation with 168 per game after going for 146 against Virginia on Saturday. It was his fourth straight 100-yard game since last season, when he averaged 100.5 over his 10 games. - AP College Football

rJr/2024 RB Chase BrownIllinois
News Source: AP College Football
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  Chase Brown rushed for 146 yards on 20 carries, Tommy DeVito threw for 196 yards and two scores and the Illinois defense stifled Virginia's once-potent attack to lead the Fighting Illini to a 24-3 victory on Saturday. Things looked dicey for Illinois (2-1, 0-1 Big Ten) after DeVito threw an interception on his first pass attempt of the day and when Brown fumbled after a first-down run. However, a dominant defense cleared the path to victory as the Illini held Virginia (1-1) to 1 of 16 on third-down conversions.

Cornerback Devon Witherspoon shined with seven tackles and three pass breakups and defensive end Keith Randolph came up with 2.5 tackles for loss, a sack and seven tackles. DeVito bounced back to complete 17 of 25 passes, including 39-yard and 2-yard touchdown throws to tight ends Michael Marchese and Tip Reiman, respectively, to help the Illini take a 21-3 lead into the half. True freshman Matthew Bailey put Illinois ahead 7-3 by recovering a muffed punt that bounced into the end zone for a touchdown with 5:38 left in the opening quarter. Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong struggled to find his receivers, completing just 13 of 32 passes for 180 yards with two interceptions. He threw for 405 yards and five touchdowns in a 42-14 win against the Illini in 2021. - Illinois/AP College Football


rJr/2024 RB Chase BrownIllinois
News Source: Illinois/AP College Football
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  There was some expectation that freshman wide receiver Shawn Miller - even after missing most of the spring with a collarbone injury - would still find a way into the rotation this season. Miller was fully cleared during training camp and played in the season opener against Wyoming, but the 6-foot-1, 195-pound receiver will miss the rest of the year with an undisclosed injury that will necessitate season-ending surgery. "Unfortunately he won't be with us the rest of this year," Illinois coach Bret Bielema said. "They haven't nailed down exactly how it's at, but it's obviously something that will take him out for the rest of this year." - News Gazette Tribune

Fr/2026 WR Shawn MillerIllinois
News Source: News Gazette Tribune
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  AUG 29 BIG TEN CO-OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Chase Brown, Illinois, RB - Jr. - London, Ontario - St. Stephens Episcopal (Fla.),...Led the Illinois offense to a 38-6 win over Wyoming in Week 0, rushing for 151 yards and two touchdowns, in addition to three receptions (on three targets) for 16 yards and a touchdown...Brown's 151 yards pushed him past the 2,000-yard milestone for his collegiate career, while his rushing yards are the most in a season-opener by an Illinois rusher since at least 1945...Recorded the first receiving touchdown of his career with a 14-yard TD reception from Tommy DeVito on the game's opening drive...Earns his third career Offensive Player of the Week award...Last Illinois Offensive Player of the Week: Chase Brown (Oct. 25, 2021). - Big Ten Football

rJr/2024 RB Chase BrownIllinois
News Source: Big Ten Football
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  2022 PRESEASON JOHNNY UNITAS GOLDEN ARM AWARD WATCH LIST: Tommy DeVito, Illinois,...First seson at Illinois after transferring to Champaign from Syracuse...Played in 24 games with 15 starts over three seasons at Syracuse...Completed 305-of-520 (.586) passes for 3,478 yards and 27 touchdowns with 10 interceptions, while rushing for 128 yards and three scores...Responsible for 3,606 career yards of total offense and 26 touchdowns...Ranked in the top 10 all-time at Syracuse in completion percentage (7th, 58.6), passer rating (8th, 128.1), passing yards per game (7th, 144.9), touchdown passes (7th, 27), completions (9th, 305) and passing yards (10th, 3,478). - Illinois Football

rSr/2023 QB Tommy DeVitoIllinois
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  Chase Brown scored three touchdowns and rushed for 151 yards and Tommy DeVito completed 27 of 37 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns in his debut as Illinois breezed past Wyoming 38-6 in a season-opener on Saturday. Only 41 seconds elapsed before Brown found his way into the end zone, latching onto a 14-yard pass from DeVito to put Illinois in front. Brown surpassed 2,000 career rushing yards - including his freshman season at Western Michigan - on an 18-yard run in the second quarter.

Brown followed with an 11-yard TD run and kicker Caleb Griffin connected from 27 yards out to give Illinois a 17-3 halftime lead. Wyoming quarterback Andrew Peasley completed just six of 21 passes for 40 yards in his debut. Cowboys running back Titus Swen rushed for 98 yards on 17 carries, while Peasley added 76 rushing yards on eight attempts. The Cowboys converted just 1 of 12 third-down attempts, while the Illini were successful on 7 of 16. John Hoyland had field goals of 22 yards and 46 yards for the Cowboys' lone scores. Illinois upped its lead to 31-6 early in the fourth quarter when Brown scored on a 5-yard run. - Illinois/AP College Football


rJr/2024 RB Chase BrownIllinois
News Source: Illinois/AP College Football
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  Bret Bielema announced Syracuse transfer Tommy DeVito as Illinois' starting quarterback on Thursday. DeVito has a promising arm and the potential to boost the offense under first-year coordinator Barry Lunney Jr., hired from UTSA after the Roadrunners embarrassed Bielema's squad last year. The run-happy Cowboys lost quarterbacks Sean Chambers and Levi Williams to the transfer portal and brought in Andrew Peasley from rival Utah State and Evan Svoboda from Snow College. The result could hinge on which team's newcomers hit the ground running. - AP College Football

rSr/2023 QB Tommy DeVitoIllinois
News Source: AP College Football
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  2022 PRESEASON ALLSTATE AFCA GOOD WORKS TEAM NOMINEE: Michael Marchese, University of Illinois,...Academic All-Big Ten...Played in 11 games with one start...Two receptions for 30 yards on the season...First career reception at Minnesota...Switched to tight end during 2021 spring practices. - Illinois Football

rSr/2023 TE Michael MarcheseIllinois
News Source: Illinois Football
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  Alex Palczewski was going through Hula Bowl practices - one of the many all-star events for seniors ahead of the NFL draft - when Illinois coach Bret Bielema called and told him there was a plan to get him a sixth season of eligibility. That's the opportunity Palczewski will use this fall, and the fact he enters the season fully healthy and set to play the whole year at his more natural right-tackle position could elevate his stock when it comes to the 2023 NFL draft. For now, he'll be a veteran anchor at one end of a rebuilt Illinois offensive line. - News Gazette Tribune

rSr/2023 OT Alex PalczewskiIllinois
News Source: News Gazette Tribune
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  Calvin Hart Jr. played roughly 31/2 quarters in his debut season at Illinois before suffering what would be a season-ending knee injury in the fourth quarter of the Illini's season-opening win against Nebraska. But what a 31/2 quarters it was for the former North Carolina State product. Hart finished his one and only game so far in orange and blue with six tackles, 11/2 tackles for loss, one sack and one fumble recovery for a touchdown. Simple math says he would have put up roughly 82 tackles and 201/2 tackles for loss in a full season and scored a dozen touchdowns. (OK, maybe not, but it was an impressive single game).

That Hart was able to return this spring healthy after knee surgery last fall was a good sign. That speedy recovery, and the fact he's full go for the Aug. 27 opener against Wyoming, is important. There's some intriguing depth at inside linebacker, but not all that much experience. Before the youth movement hits, Illinois will have to rely on Hart as one of three inside 'backers - Tarique Barnes and Isaac Darkangelo the other - to anchor the middle of coordinator Ryan Walters' defense. - News Gazette Tribune


rJr/2024 OLB Calvin Hart Jr.Illinois
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  The measurables are all there for Julian Pearl. Solid athlete. Great length. Physical. That doesn't mean there isn't room to grow for the former Danville standout turned Illinois offensive lineman. As he continues to gain experience as the Illini's starting left tackle, the coaching staff has challenged him to be more of a leader. To channel his inner Vederian Lowe - the longtime starter at left tackle he's replacing this fall. "He was a young player that was very talented that was playing on a line with Doug Kramer, (Alex Palczewski) and Verderian (Lowe)," Illinois offensive line coach Bart Miller said. "He never had to be thrust into that. Now, he is a veteran player and he is an older guy that needs to take on that. We've challenged him to do that over the course of the summer. "Honestly, the first two days I was not pleased with him in camp, but then he just turned it on and has really played well, practiced well. He worked on some of his technique flaws from last season. It's fun to see him grow and mature in that light." - News Gazette Tribune

rJr/2024 OT Julian PearlIllinois
News Source: News Gazette Tribune
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  Isaac Darkangelo leaned into a family maxim when he decided to transfer from Northern Michigan. The 6-foot-1, 230-pound linebacker had already carved out a starring role at Division II Northern Michigan. He totaled 60 tackles in 10 games as a true freshman, and his 105 tackles in 10 games as a sophomore ranked him second in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. But Darkangelo always dreamed of playing football in the Big Ten. He grew up in Big Ten country in Brighton, Mich., which is situated north of Ann Arbor and in between East Lansing and Detroit. Darkangelo also had the confidence he could compete at that level.

So he entered the transfer portal. Former Illinois coach Lovie Smith took a chance on the All-GLIAC Second Team linebacker as a walk-on. Darkangelo had his Big Ten opportunity. "One big thing in my family is to have no regrets in whatever you do," Darkangelo said Wednesday afternoon after the Illini wrapped up another training camp practice ahead of their Aug. 27 opener against Wyoming. "Honestly, I knew if I didn't take the chance on myself, I would regret it for sure...My biggest motivation was I didn't want to let my family down. I always wanted to play in the Big Ten - I knew I could - and I wanted to come here and prove myself." Darkangelo had to wait for the opportunity to prove himself. He sat out the 2020 season after transferring. Then came the coaching change from Smith to Bret Bielema. Darkangelo's fortunes ultimately weren't hurt. He earned a scholarship last fall, played in all 12 games and wound up one of the top-rated special teams players in the Big Ten. - News Gazette Tribune


rSr/2023 ILB Isaac DarkangeloIllinois
News Source: News Gazette Tribune
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