WCIA — Illinois football has named Antonio Fenelus the new defensive backs coach, the first outside addition to the Illinois staff this offseason.

Fenelus was an All-Big Ten defensive back for Bret Bielema at Wisconsin, where he shared a secondary with Illini defensive coordinator Aaron Henry. The former Badger was also a graduate assistant in Madison before becoming defensive coordinator at East Central University and most recently a defensive analyst at LSU.

“I think any time you have a player who’s played this position at a high level, in this conference,” Henry said Friday. “First team All-Conference player, has coordinator experience, has the trust of the head coach, it’s hard to pass that up. On top of having the trust of the coordinator.”

While business on the staff was being taken care of, Illinois and Mississippi State players got to enjoy a beach day in Clearwater as the lead up to the ReliaQuest Bowl continues.

“It’s good weather to be out here right now, we used to being in the cold so being out here on the water feels good,” Tarique Barnes said. “We having a good time out here so that’s good to get some relaxation after putting in work today so it feel good to be out here to spend time with the guys”

“When we first got here all them scared, crying about the water is cool but I was telling them it’s just like the cold tub in the facility and ya’ll go in there,” Pat Bryant said. “Your legs get numb a little bit but you’ll be straight but just tell em come and enjoy the sun. It’s my home state and seeing what I see growing up and just seeing what I seen is a pretty good experience.”

Illinois also won the pie eating contest, as focus now shifts to weekend preparations for the ReliaQuest Bowl on Monday. Kickoff against the Bulldogs is at 11 a.m.