During the 2013 spring semester, 51 players earned at least a 3.0 grade-point average and as a team, the Illini scored a cumulative 2.87 GPA. Also, 16 players earned degrees in 2013 and 18 were named to Academic All-Big Ten status.
Even with smarts in the classroom, Illinois has produced pro-talent as well. The Fighting Illini led all Big Ten schools in the 2013 NFL Draft with four players selected. But winning on the field and a supportive fan base is what Illinois needs to gain more national respect for the football program. Coach Tim Beckman and the Illini went just 2-10 last season.
Illinois began the 2013 season with a home win against Southern Illinois 42-34. This week, they face Cincinnati (1-0) in Champaign.