Illini will open 123rd football season on Saturday at 11 am CT
Pre-Spring Football Notes
New Coaching Staff Meets with Media
Former Cincinnati Co-Coordinator Chosen to Lead Illini Defense
Clinkscale, Gonzales, Salem Added to Illini Coaching Staff
Steven Clinkscale spent one season at Illinois as the cornerbacks coach. He was hired in January 2012 as part of Tim Beckman's first staff at Illinois.
He joined the Illini staff after spending three seasons at Toledo, including the last two as the cornerbacks coach and special teams coordinator. Under his leadership, Toledo's cornerbacks played a key role in the Rockets' defensive resurgence, while special teams were a strong suit during Clinkscale's tenure at UT. The kickoff return team ranked 11th in the nation in 2010 and the punt return unit ranked 17th in 2011.
In 2011, Clinkscale helped the Rockets become a national leader in takeaways, as Toledo ranked 16th in turnovers gained in 2011. UT also ranked third in the nation in turnover margin and 29th in third-down defense in 2011. Clinkscale guided the Rockets to a No. 17 finish in punt return average in 2011, which helped Toledo to a 9-4 campaign and a victory in the Military Bowl.
Clinkscale also helped develop Eric Page into one of the most electrifying return men in college football, as Page was named a third-team All-American by Phil Steele and a finalist for the Paul Hornung Award, given annually to the nation's most versatile player. Page also was named first-team All-Mid-American Conference as a receiver, kickoff returner and punt returner.
Toledo went from allowing 37.7 points per game in 2009 to 28.5 in 2010. The Rocket `D' also increased its forced turnovers from 21 to 34, the fifth-highest takeaway total in the nation in 2010, and tied for eighth-most interceptions in the country with 20. UT also finished 11th in the nation in kickoff return average, helping propel Toledo to an 8-5 season and its first bowl appearance in five years.
In 2010, Clinkscale helped guide junior Desmond Marrow as he returned to the lineup after a nearly two-year absence. Marrow responded with an outstanding season, with 72 tackles, three interceptions and six pass breakups. On special teams, Clinkscale helped coach Page, who averaged 31.1 yards per return, earn numerous first-team All-America honors. He was the only player in the FBS to return three kickoffs for touchdowns.
Clinkscale went to Toledo with eight years of college coaching experience: one year at Western Carolina (2008) and seven seasons at Division II Ashland University (2001-07). In his only season at Western Carolina, Clinkscale worked with the Catamount defensive backs in addition to serving as Western's academic liaison.
During his seven seasons at Ashland, Clinkscale served mostly as a secondary coach, spending his final season as the linebackers coach. Clinkscale also served as the academic liaison at AU, where the football team routinely posted combined GPAs of 3.0 or better.
Clinkscale mentored two All-Americans (Devin Conwell and Toure Carter) and two Cactus Bowl (NCAA Division II All-Star game) participants at Ashland. Conwell was named the 2005 GLIAC Defensive Back of the Year.
A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Clinkscale was a four-year starter and a team captain at Ashland. He played in the 2000 Snow Bowl, the Division II all-star game. He earned his bachelor's degree in sports science, with a concentration in therapeutic recreation, in 2000.
Clinkscale and his wife, Jasena, have four sons: Isaiah, Elijah, and twins, Zion and Zivon.
THE CLINKSCALE FILE