After monster Rose Bowl performance, Penn State wideout Chris Godwin declares for NFL Draft

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USA TODAY

After monster Rose Bowl performance, Penn State wideout Chris Godwin declares for NFL Draft

After putting up some eye-popping numbers in Monday's Rose Bowl, Penn State wide receiver Chris Godwin is heading to the NFL Draft.

Godwin announced Thursday that he will forgo his remaining NCAA eligibility and join the professional ranks.

Godwin caught nine passes for 187 yards and a pair of touchdowns in Penn State's 52-49 loss to USC in Pasadena. Those two touchdown passes went for 30 and 72 yards.

Godwin was the Nittany Lions' leading receiver this season, catching 59 passes for 982 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was a key cog in Penn State's offensive turnaround that saw the Lions' offense go from an ineffective unit to one of the most explosive point-producing machines in the country.

"It’s been an honor and a blessing to have the opportunity to be a part of the Penn State Football family," Godwin said in his announcement. "I give all the glory to God. I don’t know if words can fully express my gratitude to everyone that played a role in me getting to this point. The success I’ve had is a direct result of my association with the teams and supporting staff that I’ve had. From Middletown High School to Penn State, I have made relationships that will last a lifetime. Those closest to me know the impact this has had on my growth. The special bond with this team is something I’ll hold forever.

"I came to Penn State not only to pursue a degree from the greatest university in the nation but also to play in the best atmosphere in college football and bring Penn State back to prominence. Through a lot of hard work over the last three years, I’d like to believe that myself and my brothers have successfully accomplished that.

"As a kid from Delaware I could only dream about being in this position. This has been one of the hardest decisions in my life, but after praying on it and having many conversations with those I trust the most, I’ve decided to forgo my senior year and declare for the 2017 NFL Draft. I believe this is the best decision for myself and my family. I can’t thank my brothers, coaches and support staff and Nittany Nation enough for their constant support throughout my three years here. This year was something special, and I’ll be forever grateful to have been a part of it."

Penn State head coach James Franklin added his own words.

"Chris has been a leader in our wide receivers room and on this team throughout his Penn State career," Franklin said. "He is one of the top receivers in Penn State history and has made numerous memorable catches throughout his career. We are thankful for all of Chris’ contributions to Penn State Football and look forward to seeing him excel on the next level."

At the conclusion of his collegiate career, Godwin ranks fourth on Penn State's all-time receiving list with 2,404 yards. He ranks seventh with 153 career catches and fourth with 18 touchdown grabs.

Illini season ends in NIT loss to Central Florida

Illini season ends in NIT loss to Central Florida

Well, at least the good news for the Illini is that the Brad Underwood Era can officially begin.

Illinois' 2016-17 campaign came to an end Wednesday night with a 68-58 loss to Central Florida in the NIT quarterfinals.

The Knights blitzed the Illini early, outscoring them 34-19 in the first half, and the lead stayed sizable until a late rally by the Illini got the gap down to as little as six in the closing minutes. But the Knights didn't let the Illini get any closer than that.

Illinois shot a miserable 30.6 percent on the night and had just one player score in double figures.

That player was Malcolm Hill, who had a monster game in the final outing of his college career. Hill scored 29 points, accounting for exactly half his team's total, and splashed home six 3-pointers.

Hill finished his career with 1,846 points, third on the program's all-time scoring list behind Deon Thomas and Kiwane Garris.

Tracy Abrams' career also ended Wednesday night. Abrams had been with the program for the last six seasons, finally playing his senior season this year after missing each of the last two campaigns with season-ending injuries.

The book closed on the John Groce Era. While the former head coach was fired prior to the Illini's three-game stay in this year's NIT, this was the official end of his five-year era in charge of the program.

Underwood, who was introduced as the program's new leader Monday, can now officially begin his tenure.

Big Ten Talk Podcast: Brad Underwood arrives in Champaign as new Illini head coach

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USA TODAY

Big Ten Talk Podcast: Brad Underwood arrives in Champaign as new Illini head coach

The Illini have a new leader.

In the latest edition of the Big Ten Talk Podcast, CSN's Vinnie Duber chats with new Illinois head basketball coach Brad Underwood and Illinois athletics director Josh Whitman as well as former Illini great Kendall Gill about Underwood's arrival as the new head basketball coach in Champaign.

Plus, Duber and Matt Maniscalco talk about the end of Northwestern's dream season and the three Big Ten teams remaining in the NCAA tournament.

Take a listen to the latest episode below.