The first practice of 2016 Illinois football training camp has finally arrived. Coaches and players will participate in a total of 16 practices between now and August 20, and all sessions will be open to the public. Interestingly enough, though, it also sounds like the Fighting Illini will be looking to add a few more bodies before the season starts.
Though it hasn’t been officially announced by the school, Lovie Smith told Mark Tupper that the program will hold walk-on tryouts for full-time students later this month.
Smith has also announced he will hold tryouts for walk-on (non-scholarship) players. Full-time students are asked to attend an informational meeting at 5 p.m., Aug. 22 at the squad room on the lower level of the football complex at Memorial Stadium.
The actual tryouts will be held Aug. 25.
From what I can tell this tryout isn’t anything new for the Fighting Illini, as Google indicates something similar has taken place since at least 2012. I’d be willing to bet that this type of tryout has been around a lot longer than that, too, because it’s a fairly common practice for college programs.
For students interested in showing up, here’s what was required from 2015 candidates. I’d imagine the updated prerequisites will be similar this time around.
To participate in the tryout, a student must be currently enrolled full-time at the University of Illinois and must show official documentation of having passed a physical, including a sickle cell test, within the last six months. If needed, students can get a physical exam, with sickle cell test, at the McKinley Health Center on campus. Students also must bring their University ID to the meeting.
Students with the proper documentation will have a tryout Thursday, Sept. 10, provided they have completed the necessary requirements.
So this sounds like a really cool opportunity for former high school players on campus. There’s an approximately 0.01% chance of ever seeing playing time, but contributing to the scout team would be pretty damn cool, especially with Lovie Smith as the head coach.
We’ll make sure to update this post if/when Illinois confirms the tryout.