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Illinois Football ditches helmet stripes for second season under Lovie Smith

Welcome to the Orange Minute for Thursday, June 22.

Welcome to the TCR discussion thread for June 22! Yesterday’s Illinois-related news has been compiled below, along with some other links from the wide world of sports. If another topic catches your eye on Thursday, feel free to post about it in the comments!

Illinois Football

- The Illinois football uniforms will be slightly different this Fall. The team has announced that they’ll be eliminating the vertical stripes on all versions of the helmet. Eagle-eyed fans, however, had spotted this difference in recruiting graphics over the past few months. Perhaps the coaching staff can introduce some helmet stickers with all of that open space?

- The Fighting Illini also unveiled their 2017 schedule poster. Fans can order them online (free + shipping and handling) at this link, or they can pick them up at the Bielfeldt Athletic Administration building in the coming days.

- SB Nation’s Bill Connelly published his 2017 Illinois Fighting Illini football preview yesterday. It’s always one of the most comprehensive looks at the team so make sure to check it out if you haven’t already.

Illinois Basketball

- Former Illinois wing D.J. Williams will transfer to George Washington University. As a sophomore, Williams averaged 2.3 points, 0.9 rebounds and 0.5 assists per game for the Orange and Blue. He’ll have two years of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2017-18 season.

Illinois Basketball Recruiting

- 2018 four-star wing Talen Horton-Tucker (IL) had a “better than expected” visit to Illinois yesterday. The Chicago native is one of Brad Underwood’s top targets this offseason.

- 2018 four-star wing and Champaign native Tim Finke received a scholarship offer from the Ohio State yesterday. The Illinois legacy recruit held an offer from Thad Matta, so this makes the interest from new Buckeyes coach Chris Holtmann official.

Illinois Football Recruiting

- Lovie Smith and the Fighting Illini added a verbal commitment from 2018 three-star wide receiver Carlos Sandy (FL) on Wednesday night. Sandy also had a scholarship offer from Syracuse.

- Illinois became the first Power 5 scholarship offer for two-star athlete Bacari Middleton (TX). Bowling Green, Colorado State, and UTEP are a few of the other programs involved at the moment.

- The Orange and Blue also dished out a scholarship offer to Patrick Keenan, an unranked 2018 defensive lineman from Florida.

Illinois Olympic Sports

- Volleyball head coach Chris Tamas announced Wednesday the hiring of Andy Wenstrand as the Director of Operations for the program. The hiring is pending completion of university hiring processes and Board of Trustees approval.

- Incoming Illinois soccer freshman Hope Breslin was named the 2017 NHSCA National High School Senior Girls’ Soccer Athlete of the Year. The New York native netted a school-record 35 goals last season.