Sports Briefs

Football roster remains questionable for future

After not playing in the team’s season finale against Fresno State, sophomore wide receiver A.J. Jenkins and sophomore tight end Hubie Graham have reportedly left the Illinois football team, and sophomore wide receiver Cordale Scott has gone home, according to the Champaign News-Gazette’s Web site, IlliniHQ.com.

With senior wide receivers Chris Duvalt and Jeff Cumberland exhausting their eligbility and the potential loss of junior wide receiver Arrelious Benn to the NFL draft, any more losses would deplete the Illini’s receiving corps.

Jenkins had 10 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown in eight games, and Graham had two catches for 34 yards in nine games. Scott mostly played on special teams and did not register any receptions this season.

In addition to those potential losses, Illinois recently lost verbal commitments from two of its top recruits.

During the weekend, three-star recruit Daniel Easterly, a 6-foot-4, 180-pound safety from Detroit, told Rivals.com that he is backing out of the verbal commitment he gave to Illinois last June.

The news on Easterly comes two weeks after Johnsburg, Ill., native C.J. Fiedorowicz, the second-highest rated tight end prospect in the nation by Rivals.com, reneged on his verbal commitment to Illinois in July in order to commit to Iowa.

“I wasn’t happy with what is going on at Illinois,” Fiedorowicz told the Chicago Sun-Times in November. “I like all the coaches at Iowa. They will be staying around for a long time. I went to the Iowa/Minnesota game last weekend and the atmosphere was so much better than at Illinois. Now I feel good about my decision.”

Staff writer Jay Lee

Smith, Penn earn Big Ten weekly honors

Senior Jenna Smith was named the women’s basketball Big Ten Player of the Week for the second consecutive week, and freshman Karisma Penn garnered the Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor for the second time this season, the conference announced Monday. Smith is the Co-Player of the Week, sharing the honor with Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender.

In last Wednesday’s win at Wake Forest, Smith had a game-high 27 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, leading the Illini as they extended their longest winning streak in 12 seasons. The senior had 18 points in the second half alone, allowing Illinois to come back from a 17-point deficit.

Penn also had a strong showing in the game against Wake Forest. The freshman forward had 15 points and five rebounds. She was strong at the charity stripe, hitting 9-of-10 free throws. Penn leads all Big Ten freshman in scoring with 13.5 points per game. She also won the honor on Nov. 23.

From Daily Illini staff report