Thursday, November 29, 2007

More Awards for ILLINOIS & More!

It's that 'silly' time of year. Regular season is behind us. Coaches are being hired and fired left and right. Bowls are jockeying for position. BCS computers are over-heating. And the Chief is sizing up his bowl options. Isn't it great?

It's also that time of year for awards, rewards, and other accalades. RIVALS and SCOUT.COM announced their Freshmen All-Americans yesterday. No shockers here, both Benn and Wilson (honorable mention) made the list. Regis Benn has been racking 'em up all season (ESPN helmet sticker, BIG-10 special teams player of the week, freshmen of the week, and player of the week, etc...). In amassing 989 all-purpose yards this year, he broke freshmen records for receptions (49) and yards (596) while averaging 12.2 yards / catch. Martez Wilson made his presence on defense this year including 26 tackles and 12 solo tackles, three for a loss, and two sacks on a strong defense (meaning limited playing time). This guy can fly at outside linebacker and hit like a ton of bricks.

And today, Leman earned first-team All-American honors by the coaches, just one of three linebackers across the land (first time at Illinois since 1994, Simeon Rice). Jay posted 124 tackles this year in 12 games. He's first-team all-Big Ten this year and last. He's a semifinalist for the Butkus (Illinois grad), Lombardi, Ronnie Lott, and Bednarik Awards this year. Leman also hits like a ton of bricks. Jay's a leader. This year ILLINOIS ranks 21st in the land in rushing defense. Leman's 2007 award list reads like a never-ending wrap sheet.

And as we sleep tonight, ILLINOIS is preparing for its first bowl game since the 2002 Sugar. Actually, most of the coaching staff has been hitting the recruiting trail of late to help the strong get stronger. Like I said, it's that 'silly' season. These guys split duties between recruiting prospects and coaching the current talent. It's a tough job. The players are back in school after Thanksgiving. And we'll have eight to ten practices over the next few weeks before we get serious about our January bowl game, no matter which one.

Until then, enjoy the silly season and more awesome video like this - no, not my reception - thank God! But good stuff. The groom has a pair. Ah yes, 'silly' season in full swing, or whatever the kids call it.

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