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Lovie Smith was in a giving mood on Christmas.

Lovie Smith surprises pair of Illinois players with scholarships on Christmas

Lovie Smith was in a giving mood on Christmas. The Illinois coach surprised a pair of his players with good news on the holiday.

Both tight end Bobby Walker and linebacker Jimmy Marchese announced on social media that they were put on scholarship, saying they got the call from Smith on Monday.

“Maybe my most memorable Christmas yet. Got a call this morning from Coach Smith telling me I was on scholarship,” Walker wrote. “Thanks to everyone who has supported me along the way GO ILLINI!”

“I can’t thanks Coach Smith and my coaches enough,” Marchese wrote. “This couldn’t have happened without the great support of my family, teammates and friends.”

Bobby Walker, Jimmy Marchese put on scholarship at Illinois

Both of the former walk-ons appeared in all 12 games for the Illini in 2017. Walker had 1 catch for 7 yards against Nebraska on Sept. 29, while Marchese made 18 tackles for the season.

(H/T to 247Sports)

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