Wide receiver Ricky Smalling has exited the Fighting Illini football program, per a report from Scott Richey of The News-Gazette.
Saturday's N-G sports cover features @srrichey looking at 10 Big Ten players who should have a huge influence this season, plus changes to the roster makeup for @IlliniFootball. Also, @clikasNG on @IESA_IL fall athletics and @BobAsmussen on #Illini football. @APSE_sportmedia pic.twitter.com/RJtAX97Er9— IlliniHQ (@IlliniHQ) July 25, 2020
Smalling — Lovie Smith’s first verbal commitment in 2016 — was a three-year starter for Illinois, including last season, before missing the final six games due to a torn ACL. The Chicago native finishes his Illini career with 88 catches, 1,141 yards, and eight touchdowns.
Illinois Athletics spokesman Kent Brown also confirmed to The News-Gazette that fifth-year senior offensive lineman Jake Cerny and senior running back Ra’Von Bonner will also not be with the Illini due to personal reasons.
Cerny played in 23 games for Illinois the past two seasons, including a start in the Redbox Bowl loss to Cal. Bonner served mostly as a rotational back behind Dre Brown, Reggie Corbin & Mike Epstein, but had the most rushing yards (822) of any of the Illini’s returning backs.