Four Illini Get Chance With NFL

Tony Francis, recently signed Philadelphia Eagle
Tony Francis, recently signed Philadelphia Eagle

April 18, 2000

University of Illinois football players Rameel Connor, Tony Francis, Elmer Hickman, and Mike McGee signed free agent contracts with NFL teams late Sunday night following the 2000 NFL draft.

Defensive end Rameel Connor and fullback Elmer Hickman return to the site of Illini Bowl success as they signed contracts to play for the Miami Dolphins. Connor, who was an honorable mention all-Big Ten selection, recorded 45 tackles on the year with 10 of those for loss. He posted five sacks, two fumbles and eight quarterback hurries. Hickman was the Illini's second leading receiver with 34 catches and two touchdowns.

Cornerback Tony Francis will begin his professional career with the Philadelphia Eagles, while defensive tackle Mike McGee signed with the Carolina Panthers. Francis, also an honorable mention all-Big Ten pick, had four interceptions on the year ranking fifth in the conference. He was the fifth-leading tackler with 54 and broke up five passes. McGee, who missed five games with a hamstring injury, made the most of his seven starts recording seven sacks.