URBANA (WCIA) — Head coach Lovie Smith started his first Illinois Football recruiting class with a bang.
More specifically with former Brother Rice wide receiver Ricky Smalling. The four-star recruit was the first to commit to Smith’s 2017 Class.
So, when Smalling was absent from the first day of Fall Camp, it raised a few eyebrows. Smith said earlier this week that Smalling was excused for personal reasons, but did not say when he was expected to join the team in Champaign. Smith also reaffirmed that Smalling would play for Illini this season.
Smalling was at Fall Camp today with no pads, per NCAA rules. He did participate in drills. Smith said he is glad Smalling his made his way to Champaign.
“He bought in early on,” Smith said. “Of course, we bought in to him early on. He’s a good football player. He’s going to be able to help us win a lot of football games during his career, but you need to get that first practice in, first week of practice, all of that. Again, it’s good getting our entire football team here, and we’ll start getting him better from there. Hopefully by Monday he’ll look more like the Ricky Smalling that we know.”
Smith will be able to fully participate in practice with pads on Monday.