Benn talks NFL Draft; team preps for Chicago practice

By Anthony Zilis

Arrelious Benn could easily be in Vontae Davis’ shoes a year from now.

Davis, projected as a first-round pick and one of the top cornerbacks by most experts in this month’s NFL draft, forewent his final year of college at the University of Illinois to pursue a NFL career.

Benn is learning everything he can from his former high school and college teammate.

“Vontae is one of my best friends, so I’m always talking to him,” Benn said.

“It’s a long, tough process, man. You’ve just got to stay focused.”

Joining Davis on his way to “the next level” is former Illini offensive tackle Xavier Fulton. Even after shoulder surgery, Fulton is projected by some to be a first-day pick after switching from the defensive side of the ball to the offensive side for his junior year.

“I’ve had a lot of people call me about (Fulton),” Illini head coach Ron Zook said. “I feel bad … that he only played the offensive line for two years.”

Honoring Zuppke

The Illini head to Oak Park-River Forest High School on Saturday for their third annual Chicago spring game.

Saturday’s game will be a showcase for Chicago-area recruits and serve as a tribute to former Oak Park River Forest coach Bob Zuppke, who led the Illini to four national championships as head coach from 1913 to 1941.

But as far as competitiveness goes, the Illini are treating the Saturday like any other practice.

“It’s another opportunity to get guys lined up, to get more snaps,” co-defensive coordinator Dan Disch said.

“It’s not the end of the world, either way. You’d like to go out there and play well, but we just want to go out there and play hard and be healthy, and we’ll be fine.”

Scott searching for his niche

After recording no statistics last season, sophomore receiver Cordale Scott is trying to find his place.

At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, Scott seems to have all the physical tools to be a great receiver. But depth at the position may keep him from cracking the lineup.

But Scott doesn’t see being surrounded by talented receivers as a negative.

“It’s fun because we compete every day,” Scott said. “Learning from (Arrelious Benn), somebody that could be a top-round pick, Jarred Fayson, Jeff Cumberland. It’s an honor.”

While Scott may not lead his team in receptions this season, he’s willing to do whatever it takes to see the field.

“I just want to put my name in this offense,” he said.