Big Ten

Illini announce transfer of Simeon alum D.J. Williams as offseason roster evolution continues

Illini announce transfer of Simeon alum D.J. Williams as offseason roster evolution continues

The evolution of Illinois' roster ahead of Brad Underwood's first season in Champaign continued Monday.

The team announced junior-to-be D.J. Williams will be transferring away from the program.

"After meeting with D.J., we came to the decision that a fresh start is in his best interest," Underwood said in the announcement.

Williams, a Chicago native and Simeon High School product, was ranked by Rivals as a three-star recruit in the Class of 2015. But he didn't log many minutes in his first two collegiate seasons under John Groce, averaging 11 minutes a game as a freshman and an even lower 8.8 minutes a game this past season as a sophomore.

Williams only appeared in five of the Fighting Illini's 19 games against Big Ten opponents this past season.

By the time all is said and done — and with four open scholarships, you'd have to figure there are more additions coming — the Illinois roster will look much different when the team plays for the first time under Underwood than it did when Groce was fired after the Illini's exit from the Big Ten Tournament in early March.

Jaylon Tate, Tracy Abrams, Malcolm Hill, Maverick Morgan and Mike Thorne Jr. all wrapped up their collegiate careers this past season. And the once-ballyhooed recruiting class Groce put together was halved when Jeremiah Tilmon and Javon Pickett asked out of their National Letters of Intent following the coaching change. Plus, high-profile transfers Charlie Moore and Carlton Bragg Jr. opted to play elsewhere after reportedly considering the Illini.

Underwood, though, was able to sign Illinois' Mr. Basketball, Mark Smith, once more boosting an incoming class that also features four-star guards Trent Frazier and Da'Monte Williams.

He'll add those incoming freshmen to a returning core of Kipper Nichols, Te'Jon Lucas, Jalen Coleman-Lands, Leron Black, Aaron Jordan and Michael Finke.

Plus there's likely more to come.

Big Ten to play conference-only NCAA football schedule 'if able'

Big Ten to play conference-only NCAA football schedule 'if able'

The Big Ten announced on Thursday that they will not play any non-conference games this fall, if they’re able to play at all.

The move comes after the Ivy League cancelled all fall sports earlier in the week.

In the statement the Big Ten said, “By limiting competition to other Big Ten institutions, the Conference will have the greatest flexibility to adjust its own operations throughout the season and make quick decisions in real-time based on the most current evolving medical advice and the fluid nature of the pandemic.

“In addition, the Conference announced that summer athletic activities will continue to be voluntary in all sports currently permitted to engage in such activities. Furthermore, Big Ten student-athletes who choose not to participate in intercollegiate athletics at any time during the summer and/or the 2020-21 academic year due to concerns about COVID-19 will continue to have their scholarship honored by their institution and will remain in good standing with their team.”

The Big Ten also said they’re prepared to cancel their fall sports entirely, if needed to ensure the health and safety of student-athletes.

This all leads to more questions as to how the Big Ten schedule will ultimately take shape. For instance, the first three games on the University of Illinois’s schedule are all non-conference games. Will more in-conference games be scheduled to replace them, or will the Fighting Illini simply begin their season on Oct. 3 with their first conference game against Rutgers?

All of that remains to be seen, as the conference said more details regarding the conference-only schedule will be released later.


RELATED: Northwestern football will not host Wisconsin Badgers at Wrigley Field

Northwestern football will not host Wisconsin Badgers at Wrigley Field

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USA Today

Northwestern football will not host Wisconsin Badgers at Wrigley Field

Northwestern football will no longer host their game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Wrigley Field. The university announced the decision on Wednesday.

The Wildcats were supposed to play the Badgers at the Friendly Confines on Nov. 7. Although the university didn’t officially announce it, team's website says the game will be played at Ryan Field.

“This is a disappointing conclusion to reach, but absolutely the right one in our current environment,” said Jim Phillips, Northwestern’s Combe Family Vice President for Athletics and Recreation. “The uncertainty of football and baseball schedules, and the possibility of limited attendance, made this an easy choice to make for our student-athletes and fans.

“We’re grateful for our outstanding partners from the Cubs, and look forward to bringing the passion and pageantry of college football gameday to the city’s north side when we can do so safely and securely with a packed house.”

Northwestern initially brought college football back to Wrigley in 2010. Previously the last college football game at Wrigley was played in 1938. Since then, Northwestern has hosted both lacrosse and baseball games at Clark and Addison.

The university is still on track to kick off their season on Sept. 5 at Michigan State.

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