Illinois Football adds a pair of defensive rookies

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Illinois football has secured a pair of defensive commitments in recent days with Southern Illinois transfer safety Clayton Bush and junior college transfer rush Laine Jenkins.

Jenkins was an Oklahoma commit before reversing his commit on Friday. Bush, a graduate transfer with one year of eligibility, had 156 tackles and five interceptions during his career with the Salukis, with four pass breakups and a pick last season.

Jenkins had eight tackles as a freshman at Butler Community College in Kansas and will have three years of eligibility left. He’s a good size at 6-foot-6 and 255 pounds.

The two will give Illinois more depth next season, with Jenkins as a development prospect in an experienced rush room. Bush is the second safe transfer with Nicario Harper to help fill the void left by NFL draft picks Sydney Brown and Quan Martin. Last year’s free safety Kendall Smith also signed an undrafted free agent contract.

Illini selected in the NFL Draft NFL Draft Football

Illinois defensive back Devon Witherspoon, left, stands with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being picked by the Seattle Seahawks with the fifth overall pick in the first round of the NFL Football Draft Thursday in Kansas City, Mo.

Jeff Roberson, Associated Press Illinois vs. Nebraska – 10/29/2022

Quan Martin in Illinois’ victory over Nebraska last season. Martin was selected in the second round by Washington commanders on Friday.

David Craan, Illinois Athletics 103022-owh-spo-nebraskaillinois-em07.jpg

Sydney Brown of Illinois catches an interception during their game against Nebraska at Lincoln on October 29. Brown was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the third round on Friday.


Chase Brown rushes against Purdue in November. Brown declared for the NFL Draft this offseason and was drafted in the fifth round by the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday.

Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Follow Anderson Kimball on Twitter at: byAndy Kimball

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