Illinois football defense features two Hendricks Award finalists

By The Daily Illini sports staff

Not one, but two Illinois defensive ends have been named to the Hendricks Award final ballot. Seniors Dawuane Smoot and Carroll Phillips are two of the 27 defensive ends who have been put on the final watch list for the award that goes to the top defensive end in the country each year.

Smoot and Phillips combined for a total of 35 tackles for a loss this season. Phillips finished with 20, becoming only the seventh player in Illini history to break 20 tackles for a loss in a single season. After racking up 15 on the season, Smoot finished his career with 38.5 tackles for a loss.

Illinois is one of only two schools to feature two defensive ends on this award list, competing with Arkansas State who also had two. Northwestern’s Ifeadi Odenigbo was the only other representative from the Big Ten.

Illinois’ Whitney Mercilus — now with the Houston Texans — won the award in 2011.

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