"I know I only got seven games with him, but the thing I said to him was, 'Thank God I got seven games with you, man,' because he made me better," coach Bret Bielema said.
Illinois has high expectations for the 2021-22 season and the Associated Press Top 25 preseason poll reflects that.
"I kind of learned that the first time I went to the Kentucky Derby, right? Nobody was betting on the jockeys. Everybody was betting on the horses."
"It’s kind of to be determined," Illinois coach Bret Bielema said Tuesday.
Illinois guard Andre Curbelo was named the Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year last season.
"Instead of trying to get people to give something to me and to get a birthday present for me, I wanted to give people something from me."
"I'm gonna come in and work hard," Payne said, pointing at the slogan on the tongues of his sneakers. "Just try to be the 'Every day guy' like they say."
"I was in four different states (Monday)," Bielema said.
Central A&M defeated Meridian 43-0 on Friday.
"I really like having all of the pressure on my shoulders," Damery said.
"I found out (about the public) practice and I told him, and he said, 'Yeah! Yeah! Let's go!'" Virg Jacques said, laughing.
"I know I'll get the question (about facing my former program) but this game is about the University of Illinois football against the University of Wisconsin football and that's what I'm about."
"You know what? Believe it or not, I used to be the tailback before. Way, way back (when we were kids), though," Sydney Brown said, laughing.
"It's exciting to get started with this group," Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. "I've been anxious. I've been looking forward to it for a long time."
“A lot of times when I walk in that building, the Smith Center (Illinois' football facility), before 5 a.m., a lot of times V-Lowe is in there already. He is a professional before it becomes a question."
“They gave me a chance," Hopkins said while standing in a front of his framed No. 19 jersey in the Memorial Stadium press box.
Illinois star Kofi Cockburn signed a name, image and likeness endorsement deal with T/CCI Manufacturing on Monday.
"I want to continue that and push the bar higher for the next one."
"I still don't have a great explanation, and I'll just leave it at this: They just outplayed us. They were sharper mentally," Underwood said of Loyola.
Lincoln defeated Mattoon 35-34 on Friday.