It appears that Dami Ayoola may be working his way back onto the football team in the future.
There had been rumblings of a possible return in recent weeks, and Rayvonte Rice may have inadvertently confirmed the rumors on Twitter Monday morning.
Shoutout my man @ayoola_2! He dojn big things in his return to the orange and blue! Y'all go follow him 🏈💫💯
— Rayvonte Rice (@rayrice24) December 2, 2013
There was also this from my colleague at CBSSports.com, Jeremy Fowler.
#Illinois RB Dami Ayoola is returning to the team, per source. Was kicked off in September for violation of team policy.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerCBS) December 2, 2013
Now, while those tweets are nice, the school told The Champaign Room on Monday that Ayoola is not back on the team and that Rice's tweet is inaccurate. Ayoola has talked to Tim Beckman about possibly returning to the team next fall, but he'll have to meet certain objectives and stipulations before being reinstated.
Ayoola was originally dismissed from the team in September for a violation of team rules. The announcement came following the season-opener against Southern Illinois in which Ayoola did not play.
If Ayoola returns, it's good news for the Illini heading into next season. While Josh Ferguson had a fantastic season for the Illini, you can never have enough depth at the running back position. And although he didn't see the field at all for the Illini this season, I really liked what I saw from Ayoola during his freshman season in 2012.
Ayoola had only 26 carries in 2012, but he rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Plus, since he didn't play at all in 2013, the season could be used as a redshirt year so if he returns to the team next season it would be as a redshirt sophomore, meaning he'd have three years of eligibility remaining.