Several story lines stood out as Illini football made their way to Gately stadium Friday for spring football practice.
The two words that came to mind as the Illini took the field were crisp and energetic.
There are so many Chicago connections on the Illini's roster.
To name a few, quarterback Aaron Bailey from Bolingbrook, B.J. Bello from Lincoln Way-West, Mike Dudek from Neuqua Valley, Jalen Dunlap of Crete-Monee, Josh Ferguson of Joliet Cathoic, Patrick Flavin of Benet. Those are just to name a few.
There was an energy about 'coming home' for many of the athletes on the field. I think that was a big part of the impressive energy for a spring football practice in 35-degrees.
After the practice was over, the common theme seemed to be agreed upon among the coaches.
"it was a good practice, but we've still got work to do," tight end coach Alex Golesh said.
Another thing that the event at Gately strengthened besides the Illini were the connections with the Chicago region. There were quite a few Chicago Public league head coaches on hand to check out practice, as well as plenty of Suburban coaches. Some, like Neuqua Valley were there to check out athletes they coached and others were there to check out the practice and the experience.
Those are connections that help sell the Illinois program to future recruits, especially in the city.
Not bad for a Friday night.