Illinois football’s came to an end on Saturday, but the program may be in the news for a few more weeks thanks to the efforts of seniors Carroll Phillips and Dawuane Smoot. The fearsome pass-rushers were both named to the Ted Hendricks Award’s final watch list on Monday, making them two of just 27 players nationwide still under consideration.
Phillips became one of seven Illini players in history to record 20.0 or more tackles for loss in a single season when he had 3.0 in the final game at Northwestern to get to 20.0. Smoot finished with 15.0 TFLs to rank sixth in the Big Ten and end his career tied for sixth in Illinois history with 38.5 TFLs.
Phillips is ranked second in the nation in solo TFLs (19), seventh in TFLs per game (1.7) and 12th in solo sacks (9). Smoot was third in the Big Ten in TFLs per conference game with 13.0.
This watch list will be narrowed to five finalists by a selection committee before the winner is revealed on December 7.