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Howard Griffith: Lovie Smith hire gives Illinois Football instant consistency, credibility

Good morning. Welcome to the Orange Minute for Sunday, July 24.

BTN analyst Howard Griffith seems to be a pretty big fan of Illinois' decision to hire Lovie Smith. The former Fighting Illini standout recently had a lengthy Q&A with Illini Inquirer's Jeremy Werner, and he stated that the move brings "instant consistency and credibility" to the program.

The two also touched on topics such as Smith's recruiting efforts and the recent diversification taking place at the University. Additionally, Griffith wasn't shy when discussing Mount Carmel football in light of his son's recent decision to transfer to IMG Academy; the apparent anger/frustration stemming from Houston's exit is not a good look at all for that program.

Illinois Fighting Illini Links

Mother of deceased Illini football player giving back (WCIA)

It's been more than three years since former Illinois football player Jerry Brown Jr. was killed but his legacy lives on, thanks to his mother.  Stacey Jackson started 'Jerry Brown Jr.'s Spark the Leadership Foundation' to honor her late son by giving back to the communities he played football in.

Tracy Abrams: "Definitely feels good to be back" (The News-Gazette)

"I think my whole game is better, but talk is cheap. I've got to show everybody when it's game time, but I definitely improved my shot — I think so — in terms of mechanically and just making shots. I've just got to translate it to the game."

70 Questions for Big Ten Football Media Days (BTN)'s Tom Dienhart compiled a list of the most important questions for each Big Ten program ahead of next week's event in Chicago. This only contains a few for Illinois, but the most important obviously deals with Lovie Smith's first season.

Three-star linebacker DeCalon Brooks planning Illinois visit (TCR)

Brooks recently informed that a visit to Champaign is in the works. The Florida native is the son of Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks, who played under Smith in Tampa Bay from 1996-2000.