Illini land commitment from 4-star linebacker Shammond Cooper

Screenshot from ESPN2

And it was on national TV, if that matters?

He’s from Trinity Catholic (the same high school as 4-star recruit Isaiah Williams and Illini assistant coach Corey Patterson), and he had offers from a ton of national powerhouse programs.

As basketball falls into shambles, it’s encouraging to have some excitement from the football program. As much as I’m sure this will jinx it, this has a very 2007 feel to it, where you could see the momentum bubbling up through recruiting. When Arrelious Benn and Martez Wilson (two 5-stars) arrived in Champaign-Urbana, there was a palpable seismic shift in attitude and performance, which as we all know, culminated in a Rose Bowl birth.

It doesn’t feel identical to 2007 yet, but it’s starting to trend that way, and that’s enough for Illini fans right now.

The cynic in me still thinks it’s funny that we vascilate between being a football school and being a basketball sport based on which sport isn’t in season. And that’ll always be hilarious and worth noting until one of those teams is actually exciting and worth focusing on more than the hypothetical future.

For more, read Jeremy Werner’s coverage for 247Sports here.

You should listen to Gwalla Boyz

I’ve noticed that folks who are interested in local music always forget about the Gwalla Boyz. I wonder why? Hmm.

They’re one of the very few local acts that I listen to on repeat. Grady’s sing flow is unique for Champaign-Urbana, and furthermore, these guys are probably the most innovative musicians in town right now.

That’s a strong opinion that I’m sure will be laughed off by C-U’s music ‘scene’ but I’ll merch.

Here are my favorites:

City of Urbana Announces the 2019 Urbana Arts Grants Program   

Up to $80,000 will be doled out to artists and arts organizations in Urbana this year. Applications are due on February 15th – find more info here.

Illini lose to Indiana 65-73

The first half was pretty good. The six shot clock violations were not. All-told, an eight point loss is less than both the spread and KenPom called for, so I’ll take it. Ayo should probably get the ball every single play.

Here are some highlights:

U Of I Scientists Have ‘Hacked Photosynthesis’ In Search Of More Productive Crops

(Illinois Public Media / Dan Charles)

You should probably listen to Elizabeth Hess’ interview with Professor Jay Rosenstein

Interesting stuff, no matter what political ideology you have. Would have loved to have seen some questions that weren’t sympathetic, but fair and with some teeth. Lots of softballs in here, but a good listen regardless.

I wish I could embed this but the Soundcloud settings won’t allow it. Here’s the link.

Rafters Draft and Dough has closed

It’ll always be Bradley’s II to me.

(The News-Gazette / Tim Mitchell)

Luke Ford is transferring from Georgia to Illinois

He was probably the most highly-recruited Tight End coming out of high school last year. We’ll see how the waiver situation works out, but this is another huge splash for Lovie.

I can’t believe I’m about to type this: it’s been a really fucking good week for Illini football.