PARK RIDGE, Ill. (UI Release) – University of Illinois senior wide receiver Steve Hull (Cincinnati, Ohio/Sycamore) was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week Monday for his performance in the Fighting Illini’s Big Ten victory at Purdue on Saturday.
Hull hauled in a career-high 10 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns in the 20-16 Illini win at Purdue, his third-straight 100-yard receiving game and fourth in the last five games. He had touchdown catches of three and 30 yards against the Boilermakers, and sealed the victory by running out the clock and taking a safety on the final play of the game.
For the season, Hull has 46 catches for a team-high 838 yards and six touchdowns with most of his damage coming in the last few weeks. After totaling 19 receptions for 340 yards and one touchdown in the first eight games of the season, Hull has recorded 27 catches for 498 yards and five touchdowns in the last three weeks, the nation’s most prolific receiver by yards during that span.
Hull, who spent the last three years as a starting safety for the Orange and Blue, has thrived as a receiver during his senior season, becoming the favorite deep threat of quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase. Hull has four 50-plus-yard receptions this season, which is tied for the fifth-most in the nation. He had TD caches of 60 and 54 yards at Indiana, and also reeled in long bombs against Southern Illinois (55 yards) and Wisconsin (51 yards), all from Scheelhaase, his freshman-year roommate.
It marks the first time Hull has been honored as Big Ten Player of the Week in his career and the fourth time an Illini has taken home a weekly conference honor this season. Scheelhaase was named Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 2 following the season-opening win over Southern Illinois, punter Justin DuVernois was named Special Teams Player of the Week on Sept. 16 after the Washington game, and quarterback Aaron Bailey took home Freshman of the Week honors on Sept. 30 after the Miami (Ohio) game.
Other Big Ten weekly honorees this week include Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier (Defensive), Nebraska kicker Pat Smith (Special Teams), Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg (Co-freshman) and Indiana defensive tackle Ralphael Green III (Co-freshman).