New head coach, Tim Beckman, has wasted no time getting the Illinois football team back on track. He has addressed what is arguably the one of the biggest issues from last season’s squad: special teams. Not only is he addressing current issues, but he’s focusing on the future. Raven style.
Last year, the Illini ranked last in the FBS in kickoff returns. Yes, you read that correctly…last! This isn’t one of those situations where we mean “if you’re not first you’re last.” We mean that the Illini were dead last in all of college footbal in kick returns.
Additionally, the Illini ranked third-worst in punt returns. This is abysmal for a team that intends to fight for a conference title or at least, a Leaders Division title. Beckman must have known how upset we were about the gross production of our kick return team, as he has brought on a transfer from Northern Illinois.
Tommy Davis is transferring to Illinois to provide a much needed boost in the return game. Although Davis spent four years at NIU and earned a degree, he is still elligble for another year because of the NCAA’s graduate transfer rule. Thanks NCAA.
The past two weeks have brought a couple of broken jaws and 2013 recruits, but this is big news for the Illini, who have had big question marks at the kick/punt return spots.
Davis played 41 games and made 19 starts at Northern Illinois. He was a two time All-Mid American Conference kick/punt returner. Davis took reps at safety and in 2010 he had 73 tackles and tied the MAC lead for fumble recoveries (4).
In other news, the Illini have added Dawuane Smoot to their 2013 list of committed recruits. Smoot made a verbal committment on Tuesday night. He is a 6’3″ 225-pound defensive end. Smoot attributed his committment to the fact that he felt comfortable with the school and more importantly the coaches (especially Beckman).
Smoot will join recent recruit Bryce Douglas as a part of the defensive line class of 2013. Smoot’s commitment is Illinois’ fourth in the last six days and 14th overall for the Class of 2013. It looks like Beckman is wasting no time gearing up for the 2012 season and preparing his freshman class for the 2013 season.
Every recruit that has committed to Illinois has made note of how much they like Tim Beckman. Hopefully Beckman can coach as well as he can speed date.
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