Matt Fortuna, writing for The Athletic, has a great profile on University of Illinois Athletics Director Josh Whitman. Having been around the program and Josh a little bit, I know this piece is spot on. March Madness and the eve of Major League Baseball might be what’s taking up most of the sports reporting, but college football is also gearing up. It’s good to see the Illinois AD is lock in step with what Coach Lovie Smith has been building.
“I think we’re in a really strong position with football right now,” he says. “It’s been a tough three years. I think we’ve put a lot of heavy lifting in, laid a strong foundation. We’ve got a team this year that’s gonna be led largely by our junior class, a group that came in, Lovie’s first group, played a lot as freshmen and continue to play a lot. And so I really feel good about the leadership within the program. I feel good about the experience within the program. I think we’re finally getting old after being one of the youngest teams in college football for two years in a row. I’m really pleased with the recruiting that the staff has done — the classes haven’t been huge, which has obviously hampered some of our rankings — but in terms of the quality of players, some of the most highly ranked players we’ve seen in 10-15 years at the University of Illinois. And that’s the kind of success we need on the recruiting trail to turn the tide with this thing.”
This upcoming Illinois football season has all the markings of a bowl year.
Just win six men. Just win six.