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Ex-Illini QB Jeff George Jr. tweets move to Michigan

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It appears you can add another name to Michigan’s quarterbacking fray.

In a tweet posted to his personal Twitter account Tuesday night, Jeff George Jr. indicated that he has decided to transfer to Michigan.  The move to the Wolverines comes nearly five months to the day after George, the son of former Illinois great Jeff George, decided to transfer from the Fighting Illini.

In addition to being eligible this season, the quarterback will have another year of eligibility that he can use in 2019.

In starting five games last season, George was the Illini’s leading passer in throwing for 1,273 yards.  He accounted for seven of the Illini’s eight touchdown passes on the year, as well as 10 of their 19 interceptions.

All told, George started nine games during his time in Champaign.  His first career start? At Michigan in October of 2016, a 41-8 loss that saw George complete four of his 15 passes for 95 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

In Ann Arbor, George will face an uphill climb to the starting job as Shea Patterson, the Ole Miss transfer recently ruled eligible for 2018, is far and away the frontrunner to claim the role.  Also in the mix are redshirt sophomore Brandon Peters (started four games in 2017), redshirt freshman Dylan McCaffrey and true freshman Joe Milton.

“I saw it as the best opportunity for me and Coach [Jim] Harbaugh is giving me the chance to compete, which is all I’m asking for,” George told Rivals.com after posting his tweet. “Also, Michigan is an unbelievable program with great history and I’m looking forward to contributing to that in any way possible.”

Illinois transfer Tito Odenigbo officially enrolls at Miami

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Over four months after the fact, it’s officially official.

Back in late January, it was reported that Tito Odenigbo had decided to transfer from Illinois to Miami.  On the final Tuesday of the last week of May, Miami confirmed that Odenigbo has enrolled in classes at the university and will continue his collegiate football career with the Hurricanes.

As Odenigbo will be coming to the Hurricanes as a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play immediately for the reigning ACC Coastal champions in 2018.  The upcoming season will be the defensive tackle’s final year of eligibility.

This past season, Odenigbo started four of the 10 games he played for the Illini, and his 4½ tackles for loss were tied for second on the team in 2017.  All told, Odenigbo played in 21 games at Illinois, starting five of those contests.

Given The U’s attrition on the interior of its defensive line — prior to the NFL’s deadline, tackles RJ McIntosh and Kendrick Norton confirmed that they would be leaving Miami early for the NFL draft — Odenigbo is in line for immediate playing time with the ‘Canes.

SMU the landing spot for transferring Illinois safety Pat Nelson

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Illinois’ loss will turn into SMU’s gain as we begin tidying some news & notes up from an extended Memorial Day weekend.

Pat Nelson announced on his personal Twitter account this past week that he will be transferring from Illinois. Not only that, but the safety revealed his transfer destination in the same tweet — the AAC’s SMU Mustangs.

Nelson is leaving Champaign as a graduate transfer, giving him immediate eligibility with the Mustangs in 2018. As a bonus, the Illinois native will have another season of eligibility he can use in 2019.

A three-star 2015 signee, Nelson missed his entire true freshman season because of injury. Each of the past two seasons, however, he’s finished third on the Fighting Illini in tackles — 65 this past season, 75 in 2016. He ended the Illini portion of his playing career with five tackles for loss, a sack and a pair of fumble recoveries.

Two Illinois players charged with theft for relocating deer sculpture

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A pair of Illinois players have been charged with theft between $500 and $10,000 after taking a sculpture from a Champaign park and relocating it to the top of their apartment building.

Jimmy Marchese, a junior linebacker, and Drew Murtaugh, a sophomore linebacker, told police they were walking home on the night of April 29 and saw a sculpture of a running deer, titled “Startled,” lying on the ground and took it home, placing the sculpture on the roof of their apartment. The Champaign Park District pleaded for the sculpture’s return on Facebook, and an anonymous tip led the authorities to Marchese and Murtaugh.

“Startled” has since been reinstalled at Champaign’s Scott Park, where the $5,000 sculpture will require touch-up work by the artist who created it.

“We had to have the artist come and do some work on it. We think we got it worked out to where it would be a lot harder for anyone to take it out again,” Champaign Park District director Joe DeLuce told the Champaign News Gazette.

The Illini pair has already appeared in court for a probable-cause hearing, and are due back on June 12. They face penalties ranging from probation to five years in prison.

Illinois spokesman Kent Brown told the News Gazette that head coach Lovie Smith is aware of the incident but has taken no action.

Marchese, a native of Vernon Hills, Ill., played in all 12 games in 2017 with two starts, and was named to the Academic All-Big Ten team. Murtaugh, hailing from Crystal Lake, Ill., did not letter as a redshirt freshman in 2017, but joined his partner in petty crime as an Academic All-Big Ten honoree.

 

Once committed to Illinois, USC grad transfer Jalen Greene now headed to Utah State instead

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That whole thing where Illinois picked up a Power Five transfer earlier this offseason?  Never mind, apparently.

In late March, Jalen Greene took to Twitter to announce that he had committed to Illinois after deciding to transfer from USC.  Showing that commitment is sometimes fleeting anymore, 247Sports.com is now reporting that Greene is instead headed to Utah State.

No reason for the abrupt flip was given.

As Greene comes to the Mountain West Conference school as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play for the Aggies in 2018.  The upcoming season will serve as the wide receiver’s final year of collegiate eligibility.

Greene was a three-star 2014 recruit who was rated as the No. 13 dual-threat quarterback in the country.  He moved to receiver after the 2014 season and ended up catching 26 passes for 318 yards.