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Illinois DE Dawuane Smoot named Third Team Preseason All-American by Pro Football Focus

Good morning! Welcome to the Orange Minute for Monday, August 22.

Northwestern v Illinois Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The hype surrounding Illinois’ Dawuane Smoot continues to grow. Pro Football Focus recently announced their preseason All-Americans, and the senior defensive end was tabbed as a Third Team selection along with Arkansas’ Deatrich Wise.

Derek Barnett (Tennessee) and Myles Garrett (Texas A&M) were the First Team selections at the position, while Charles Harris (Missouri) and Carl Lawson (Auburn) were mentioned on the Second Team.

Smoot recorded 8.0 sacks and 40.0 tackles (15.0 TFLs) as a junior. He’s been named to two separate preseason award watch lists, and he’s also being mentioned as a potential First Round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Illinois Fighting Illini Links

- Four-star PG Trent Frazier commits to Illinois Basketball (TCR)

Frazier is rated as the No. 108 overall player in the nation by 247Sports; he was also considering Georgia, Memphis, Seton Hall, VCU, SMU, Kansas State, and Rhode Island.

- Four Illini Football opponents appear in preseason AP Top 25 (TCR)

The Big Ten was represented by Ohio State (No. 6), Michigan (No. 7), Michigan State (No. 12), and Iowa (No. 17). Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Northwestern also received votes.

- Illini Football working to cut down on dropped passes (WCIA)

"It's more mental than it is physical," Hardee continued. "If you tell yourself you can go catch the ball than more than likely you will. Then you've got to practice on it. Physically you've got to practice on it. Mentally, you've just got to prepare your mind for it."

- Ke’Shawn Vaughn ready to step up for Illinois (Grand Island Independent)

"I’ve had talks with older guys. They’re saying it’s time for me to step forward," Vaughn said. "A lot of older guys are putting their trust in me. It’s not about what grade level you’re in. It’s really going off experience, that you know what you’re talking about."