Football
Five Illini Heading to NFL Rookie Minicamps

 
Ryan Lankford (Miami Dolphins) is one of five Illini heading to a rookie camp in late May.
Ryan Lankford (Miami Dolphins) is one of five Illini heading to a rookie camp in late May.
 

May 14, 2014

Five University of Illinois football seniors will have a shot to make their NFL dreams become a reality this spring. Linebacker Jonathan Brown (Arizona Cardinals), wide receiver Ryan Lankford (Miami Dolphins) and tight end Evan Wilson (Dallas Cowboys) all signed free agent contracts following last weekend's NFL Draft, while wide receivers Spencer Harris and Steve Hull both will have rookie minicamp tryouts with the New Orleans Saints.

The quintet will look to join a long list of former Fighting Illini in the NFL. In 2013, a total of 26 former Illini were on NFL rosters, tied for the second most among all Big Ten teams. Dallas and New Orleans will hold their rookie minicamps May 16-18, while Arizona and Miami will run from May 23-25.

While Illinois did not have a player selected in the 2014 NFL Draft, the program has a rich history in the draft with at least one UI player selected in 40 of the last 42 years. The program also had a habit of producing undrafted NFL contributors, like current veterans Steve Weatherford (8 seasons, currently with Giants), Pierre Thomas (7 seasons with Saints) and Jeff Cumberland (4 seasons with Jets).

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