Charles Tillman grabbed headlines at Illinois camp on Tuesday, but buried in the commotion was an injury update on one of the team’s newcomers. Lovie Smith mentioned that senior defensive end Gimel President will be "out for awhile" with an undisclosed left foot injury that was suffered during Monday’s full-pad practice. Smith went on to note that the injury wasn’t anything too serious.
#Illini DE Gimel President is sidelined for practice today. Has a walking boot on his left foot and ankle.— Derek Piper (@DPiperScout) August 9, 2016
#Illini head coach Lovie Smith said DE Gimel President's injury isn't serious but he "will be out for a while".— Derek Piper (@DPiperScout) August 9, 2016
I mean, we don't really know what "awhile" means under Smith yet, but it doesn't sound like President’s availability will in question for Week 1. For all we know he could be back in action by next week. Even if President does end up missing a game or two, Illinois should be equipped to handle the absence because their defensive line is shaping up to be one of the best in the Big Ten. Dawuane Smoot, Carroll Phillips, and Henry McGrew would just need to step up and fill the extra reps on the edge.
Still, President has been expected to provide some much needed depth to the unit. The 6-foot-4, 265-pound graduate transfer played in 25 games at Auburn, totaling 45 tackles, 3.0 sacks, and 7.0 tackles-for-loss. He saw extensive playing time in 2014 (9 starts), but he was reduced to filling a reserve role as a redshirt-junior.
Elsewhere, the Fighting Illini have been given a day off, so there won’t be any practice later this afternoon. I’m sure that news was well received by the players considering the physicality of the last few sessions. The Orange and Blue are scheduled to return to the fields at 2:30pm CT on Thursday afternoon.
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The Milwaukee native announced his verbal commitment to Steve Prohm to the Cyclones on Tuesday night. The No. 100 overall player in the class, was also considering Illinois, Marquette, and UNLV.
Prospects that wouldn’t have even considered Illinois under past regimes (i.e. four-star WR Jeff Thomas) are now paying serious attention to the program, and it may be only a matter of time until results start materializing.
We’ve heard for months how Lovie was setting up his recruiting structure "like an NFL personnel department", but what does that mean? I had a chance to sit down with new Director of Player Personnel Josh Sternquist and ask him how is department is set up.
"Hey, man, buy what Coach Smith is selling," Tillman said he told the Illini players after the training camp practice. "It's good stock. I bought it for a number of years and I had success with it. Just believe in the system and good things will work."