Abraham joins Illinois football coaching staff


Austin Yattoni

Illinois head coach Lovie Smith talks to his team during a timeout in the game against Michigan State at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, November 5. The Illini won 31-27.

By Stephen Cohn , Staff writer

Illinois football has added another former NFL players to its coaching staff.

On Wednesday, the University announced Donnie Abraham as a defensive assistant coach, replacing linebacker coach Tim McGarigle. McGarigle left the program to become the defensive quality control coach with the Green Bay Packers.

Last week, head coach Lovie Smith said the position would be filled by the start of spring ball, and spring practices began Tuesday.

“His background with our staff here at Illinois will be extremely helpful as we continue to implement our defensive philosophies,” Smith said in a press release. “Donnie is an excellent communicator and will help in our recruiting efforts in the state of Florida and other places he has connections. I’m very pleased to be able to bring someone of his caliber to our staff.”

Abraham grew up in South Carolina and graduated from East Tennessee State University in 1996. He was drafted in the third round of the NFL Draft in 1996 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and had a nine-year playing career for the Buccaneers and New York Jets.

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    Abraham, Smith and defensive coordinator Hardy Nickerson were all together in Tampa from 1996-1999 for four seasons.

    He was most recently the defensive coordinator for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

    IMG Academy is a boarding school and sport-training destination.

    Four-star 2018 recruit and current IMG cornerback Houston Griffith announced via Twitter he is visiting Illinois this weekend.

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