Illini football

2016 Senior Day Pictures, Iowa @ Illinois football

Vashoune Russell is a hunter. He loves cold weather.

He and his fancy camera were on hand for a morning football game that some people might want to forget. But let’s say you’re reading this page in 2024, have no idea who won, and merely want to know where Hardy Nackerson’s son Hardy Nickerson played college ball.

This page could  misinform you on many levels.

You’ll also be looking for more info on 2021 Pro-Bowl QB Wes Lunt. And here it is.

Illini football

Illini 31, MSU 27

AD Josh Whitman hugs Illini captain Joe Spencer

Hey, guess what? Illini 31, MSU 27. That’s what.

You might want to remember this game. So here are some pictures of it, snapped by Vashoune Russell. Postgame comments from the coaches and players are here, too.


Sam Mays hauls in the game-winner
Kendrick Foster disappears in the distance

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Foster rushed for 146 yards against the Spartans

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Ainslie Johnson found himself all alone in the end zone. Fortunately, so did Jeff George Jr.
Luke Butkus’s line got the job done
Lovie watches as Luke Butkus instructs the offense

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Ooh, ooh Jeff, over here! Over here Jeff!

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Reggie Corbin cuts left
Jaylen Dunlap returned a fumble recovery for 12 yards
Illini Basketball

Mikey Dudek is running, jumping and stop-starting

Yesterday, I went to the Illini football practice with photographer Vashoune Russell. We were interested in seeing which O-Line guys got the most reps as a “starting five.”

We failed. It wasn’t really that kind of practice.

Instead, we saw Bob Ligashesky repping with the punt team. We saw Tim McGarigle running the linebacking squad through a tackling drill.


Yes, we also saw Luke Butkus working with the O-Line, but the rest of the offensive unit didn’t join them. And no particular group seemed to be working together. It was technique work, not teamwork.

While Vashoune was taking pictures of the O-Line, Mikey Dudek and Dre Brown (both in uniform, neither in pads) ran 40-yard sprints on the sidelines. Dudek wore a functional post-op ligament knee brace to keep his twice torn ACL in place. But he moved well, particularly when jumping repeatedly from left to right as a wide-receiver might do when attempting to juke a cornerback.

He appeared perfectly healthy, and by no means taking it easy. I took that as a good sign. Brown did not join in the jumping, but he too ran at top speed.

Images by Vashoune Russell.