Lovie Smith is in his first season with the Illniois Fighting Illini after the team went 5-7 a year ago. One of Smith’s first big decisions that had to be made was in regard to who the captains would be for 2016.

After Tuesday’s practice, Smith talked about who those captains were and what it means.

“Well, there’s an awful lot that goes into that,” Smith said. “We let guys know in the spring who we’ll be selecting as captains. So, we’ve had a chance to watch them since then. Spring ball, how they train, how they are in the media room, classroom (…) so that entails quite a bit.

“To be selected is a pretty big honor, so that’s why we’re excited about Wes Lunt, Joe Spence on the offensive side of the football. And of course, Dawuan Smoot. And Hardy Nickerson has only been here for about a month so to be selected captain is pretty big.”

Illinois will begin its season at 2:30 p.m. CST on Sept. 3 at home against Murray State. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.