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University of Illinois ranked as the No. 11 public school in the country by Forbes

Good morning. Welcome to the Orange Minute for Saturday, July 9.

Confirmed: the University of Illinois is a pretty great school. Forbes recently released their list of Top-25 public institutions for 2016, and UIUC cracked the list at No. 11 overall. Illinois was also ranked as one of the best colleges in the Midwest. So, congratulations, now you can officially brag to your not-as-smart friends.

The United States Military, Naval, and Air Force academies took the top three spots this year. The other Big Ten schools on the list are (No. 7) Michigan, (No. 10) Wisconsin, (No. 14) Maryland, (No. 20) Indiana, and (No. 23) Minnesota.

Illinois Fighting Illini Links

Hardy Nickerson Jr. named to Nagurski Trophy Watch List (TCR)

Illinois' Hardy Nickerson Jr. has been named to the 2016 Bronco Nagurski Trophy Watch List. The program's new starting middle linebacker is one of 88 players to make the preseason spotlight for the annual award, which is presented to the nation's top defensive player.

First look at Te'Jon Lucas, Kipper Nichols in O&B (TCR)

We got our first glimpse of newcomers Te'Jon Lucas and Kipper Nichols wearing Illinois uniforms this week. The two freshmen will wear No. 3 and No. 2, respectively.

Tracy Abrams: Show is better than tell (STL Post-Dispatch)

The point Abrams is making at this stage, in one of the longest recovery periods imaginable, is that an Illini basketball program that has missed three straight NCAA Tournaments doesn't need to be boasting about anything. Even as the sixth-year point guard and assumed team captain, Abrams doesn't see the point in making predictions.