Fighting Illini head coach Lovie Smith mentioned four yet-to-be-announced team captains during his first weekly press conference, and those players were finally revealed on Tuesday night. Illinois’ 2016 leaders will be senior quarterback Wes Lunt, senior center Joe Spencer, senior defensive end Dawuane Smoot, and senior linebacker Hardy Nickerson Jr.
Your 2016 team captains as voted on by #Illini players & staff. @IlliniJoe71 @BigSmoot_91— Illini Football (@IlliniFootball) August 30, 2016
Wes Lunt@younghardy_ pic.twitter.com/N7wl5ytq6o
In a change from past years, this quartet of players will be captains for the entire season; the roles changed every game under Tim Beckman/Bill Cubit. However, the weekly vote will live on in a different capacity as a fifth special teams player will join the group for each contest.
All-in-all, there were no surprises here. Lunt and Spencer were really the only two logical choices on offense, and while this is Nickerson’s first year in the Orange and Blue, he’s expected to be a key contributor on the other side of the ball.
Illinois Fighting Illini Links
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- Labor of Lovie: Normalcy at Illinois (Sports on Earth)
All we alums really want from Illinois football is competency. We don't want scandals, we don't want crazy hardcore recruiting pushes that inevitably end in some sort of investigation, we don't want to have to start over every three years.
- Big Ten Football 2016: Roundtable Preview (TCR)
Who will be the conference’s offensive and defensive players of the year? What about the most overrated and underrated teams? Check out these predictions from TCR’s writers!