Illinois will have a series of fresh looks for the 2018 season as the Fighting Illini try to make headway in year three under Lovie Smith.
The football program unveiled three new Nike uniforms Friday that are meant to evoke the popular look that the school wore during the Dick Butkus era in the 1960s, even though fans on social media can’t help but point out the resemblance to Syracuse.
Here’s how Illinois describes the uniform:
“Illinois’ traditional block ‘I’ logo remains prominent on the sides of the helmet and at the base of the collar. A unique two-column pattern is set in both the jerseys and the numbers as a nod to the historic columns at Memorial Stadium, which represent Illinois soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice.”
The helmets also have removed their metallic matte finish in favor of a shade that “more accurately matches the orange in the uniforms.”
Here are close-ups of the uniforms.
The team also revealed the new Grey Ghost uniform, inspired by the “Galloping Ghost” Red Grange, that will be worn on Homecoming.
In all, that’s four new jerseys, three new pants and one new helmet for 2018. Illinois has gone 5-19 in the last two years under Smith, the former Bears coach.
All photos by Andy Wenstrand, Illinois athletics.