The 5-foot-11, 185-pound junior was hoping to make a big return after missing some of the offseason program with a fracture in his left foot.
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- Rantoul, IL 61866, USA
His first day back included throwing up, but he made it to the Camp Rantoul field to practice under sunny skies and with music blaring from speakers overhead, a change made by new coach Tim Beckman.
Illinois is splitting into two squads for practices Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday during its week in Rantoul. The opening practice included first-string players, and quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase began his work to find new connections following the departure of wide receiver A.J. Jenkins to the NFL.
"It's not about one person," Millines said. "We're going to play as a receiving corps. We're going to egg each other on and make plays."
Junior wide receiver Spencer Harris, who combined with Millines and Ryan Lankford to total 57 catches for 552 yards last season, said the Illini are off to a good start.
"Nathan did really well today," Harris said. "He had a great summer, threw really well. He's accurate. He's getting the long ball even better. This offense is right up his alley. It's perfect for Nate."
Nowicki arrives: Penn State transfer Ryan Nowicki practiced with the Illini offensive line Monday morning, and Illinois officially announced the redshirt freshman's arrival in the afternoon.
Beckman said they have to wait to see if Nowicki will make an immediate impact.
"We're happy to have Ryan Nowicki on our ballclub," Beckman said. "Depth was the major concern we talked about since spring ball. Being able to have Ryan will add to that depth."
Beckman said the Illini likely will try several combinations on the offensive line in the coming weeks. That included moving starting center Graham Pocic to left guard Monday.
Extra points: Miles Osei took many reps at quarterback in the morning but could be moved around to receiver and running back. Quarterback Reilly O'Toole practiced with the second-string orange squad in the afternoon. "It was a hot one, but it was good," O'Toole said. "These small practices get us a lot of reps, so it's really good for everybody, especially the younger guys." … Beckman pointed to running back Dami Ayoola and kicker Ryan Frain as freshmen who stood out. … Coaches also took their first look at senior safety Tommy Davis, who transferred from Northern Illinois this summer. "Tommy did some good things," Beckman said.