Alan Ball was announced as Illinois’ honorary captain for this weekend’s game against the Spartans. Ball was an outstanding defensive back that played for the Fighting Illini during 2002-2006 where he earned numerous accolades.

He would end up with the Dallas Cowboys in the 7th round of the 2007 NFL Draft. Ball was awarded honorable mention for the All-B1G team and was top 3 in passes defended in 2006 with an average of one per game.

He was named team captain, and voted the team’s Most Outstanding Defensive Back by his team mates. Ball’s best game of his senior season game against Iowa where he recorded seven total tackles, including six solo tackles, and a pass break up.

This year Illinois is 7-1 overall and 4-1 in conference.The Fighting Illini have an elite defense this year and are 1st in Total Defense, allowing just 224.5 total yards of offense per contest. They’ve only allowed six touchdowns, which leads the nation.

They’re currently leading the standings in the  B1G West with the closest opponent being Purdue who is 3-2 in conference play.

Illinios plays Michigan State at home at 3:30 p.m. ET on the Big Ten Network.