Fighting Illini football surprise four students with scholarships

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Alex Shapiro
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WATCH: Illini surprise four student-athletes with scholarships originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Fighting Illini had some fun surprising four student-athletes with scholarships on Tuesday evening. The team pretended to be introducing a new drill with Christian Bobak, Tailon Leitzsey, Michael Marchese and Alec McEachern before slyly breaking the news.

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“We’re going to put in a new run tackle drill,” head coach Bret Bielema said in the video. “I need McEachern, I need Marchese, Bobak and Leitzsey. You guys come up here and we’re going to work on a new drill called ‘Circle of Trust.’ Everyone come down here, I need a circle around here.”

Bielema continued after getting the whole team to gather around the four student-athletes in question.

“I don’t have film on this one, alright? This is about pad level, intensity, about playing the game the right way, understanding what needs to be done.

“Because it’s called scholarships for these four guys.”

Before Bielema could finish the world “scholarship” the team erupted in celebration with cheers and hugs for the four players.

Bobak is a senior defensive back from Hinsdale who’s played primarily on special teams in his first three seasons at Illinois. Leitzsey is also a senior defensive back who graduated last December with a degree in kinesiology. Marchese is a senior linebacker who started two games last year and has two career interceptions and two career fumble recoveries. McEachern is a junior linebacker who has also primarily played on special teams.