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Illinois DE Dawuane Smoot named to ESPN’s preseason All-Big Ten team

Good morning! Welcome to the Orange Minute for Tuesday, August 23.

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Illinois Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

I realize you may be getting a bit tired of Dawuane Smoot headlines, but the Illinois standout received another important mention. ESPN named the senior defensive end to their preseason All-Big Ten team on Monday along with fellow linemen Sam Hubbard (Ohio State) and Malik McDowell (Michigan State).

Smoot was also labeled as a Third Team preseason All-American by Pro Football Focus over the weekend. Combined with two appearances on award watch lists, it’s safe to say that this has been a pretty nice Summer for Smoot. Hopefully he’ll be able to back-up all of this attention with another strong season in Champaign.

Illinois Fighting Illini Links

- Illinois checks in at No. 80 in SB Nation power rankings (TCR)

So, yeah, this does seem rather low for the Fighting Illini. However, Illinois has a very wide range of potential win totals for the upcoming season, and it wouldn’t be completely farfetched to see them make a big run.

- 2016 SB Nation College Football Preview (SB Nation)

The country’s best college football preview is here! National power rankings, coach interviews, uniform opinions, mascot evaluations, and much more are included. Oh, and it also includes the official 2016 Piesman Trophy preseason watch list.

- Nickersons like progress of Illinois defense (Pantagraph)

"Our defense is coming together," Nickerson Sr. said. "We’ve grown a lot from the first day of training camp. We’re leaps and bounds better than we were when we started and we’re finally clicking as a defense.

- Illini volleyball looks to rebound from mediocre season (The Daily Illini)

The Illini landed the 22nd-ranked recruiting class with the additions of 35th-ranked Kaylin Korte and 86th-ranked Jacqueline Quade. Both are outside hitters. Hambly believes Korte will compete for a starting spot this upcoming season.