Four Illini walk-ons earn scholarships

Local Sports

CHAMPAIGN — In a video that will warm Illini fans’ hearts, Illinois football head coach Bret Bielema delivered news in a team meeting that four walk-ons are being put on full scholarships.

The players are defensive backs Christian Bobak and Tailon Leitzsey, and linebackers Michael Marchese and Alec McEachern. Bobak has played in the most games for the Illini in his career. He has suited up in the Orange and Blue 43 times mostly on special teams and has 22 tackles in his four seasons.

Leitzsey is the newest member of the program. He joined in 2018 and made his Illinois debut against Northwestern this past season.

Marchese has five starts in his career, three at safety and two at linebacker. He has picked the ball off twice for the Illini and has 44 tackles.

McEachern had a career-high three tackles against Penn State to end the 2020 season. He has been named to the Academic All-Big Ten team three times.

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