Three Illini named to Reese’s Senior Bowl watch list

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Three Illini named to Reese’s Senior Bowl watch list

Illinois wide receiver Malik Turner gets ready to catch a ball that he tipped during the game against Purdue at Memorial Stadium on Oct. 8, 2016. Turner was named to the Reese's Senior Bowel watch list.

Illinois wide receiver Malik Turner gets ready to catch a ball that he tipped during the game against Purdue at Memorial Stadium on Oct. 8, 2016. Turner was named to the Reese's Senior Bowel watch list.

The Daily Illini File Photo

Illinois wide receiver Malik Turner gets ready to catch a ball that he tipped during the game against Purdue at Memorial Stadium on Oct. 8, 2016. Turner was named to the Reese's Senior Bowel watch list.

The Daily Illini File Photo

The Daily Illini File Photo

Illinois wide receiver Malik Turner gets ready to catch a ball that he tipped during the game against Purdue at Memorial Stadium on Oct. 8, 2016. Turner was named to the Reese's Senior Bowel watch list.

By Jacob Diaz, Staff writer

As training camp draws to a close this week, the Illinois football team received some good news Thursday when seniors Christian DiLauro, Malik Turner and Jaylen Dunlap were named to the Reese’s Senior Bowl watch list.

The trio will have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of recent graduates Geronimo Allison, Jihad Ward, Dawuane Smoot and Carroll Phillips, who all participated in the bowl over the last two years.

The Reese’s Senior Bowl is an exhibition game played between two teams made up of some of the best seniors from around the country, and it is coached by NFL staffs.

The three Illini will be competing with over 400 other players who were also named to the watch list to fill some of the 110 roster spots for the Jan. 27 game.

The bowl will be held in Mobile, Alabama, at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, home of the South Alabama Jaguars, and will be televised on the NFL network.

Illini to hold open tryouts Tuesday

Students interested in becoming athletes will have the opportunity to walk on to the football team in the coming weeks.

The team will host its annual open tryouts Sept. 5 and interested students will need to attend a meeting Aug. 29 in the squad room in Memorial Stadium.

Any full-time University student with proof of a recent physical can attend tryouts, and if needed the McKinley Health Center on campus is available to provide students with physical exams.

While the walk-ons selected by the team through open tryouts may be few, simply being a part of the team will provide access to three free meals a day, the opportunity to dress for home and away games, and more than enough Illinois gear provided by Nike.

Grange Grove to hold opening weekend festivities

As part of its efforts to encourage student participation and attendance at football games, the University will hold family-friendly festivities at Grange Grove before each home game.

The grassy-covered area outside Memorial Stadium will play host to live music, inflatables, face painting and other kid-friendly activities starting three hours before each kickoff.

The area also will hold first-come, first-serve tailgating locations to anyone interested in tailgating just outside the entrance to the stadium.

Since its opening in 2015, Grange Grove has been the centerpiece of the University’s efforts to raise student interest and participation in the football team. The University has marketed it aggressively in the past and this year seems to be no different, calling it a “high-energy tailgating area” on the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics’ website.

Grange Grove will play host to a rotating lineup of live music this season, starting with local guitarist Andy Mo before the opener against Ball State.

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