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Jake Hansen has surgery, declares for NFL Draft

Jake’s days as an Illini are over.

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Illinois Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Illini linebacker Jake Hansen sustained a knee injury during the loss to Wisconsin on October 9th. Unfortunately, that injury required surgery, and Hansen’s season — and collegiate career — is now over:

The 6-foot-1, 235-pounder from Tarpon Springs, Fla., tallied 32 tackles this season, including 2.5 TFLs and a sack. Hansen finishes his Illini career with 276 tackles, 28.5 TFLs, 8 sacks, 12 forced fumbles, 7 fumble recoveries, and 3 interceptions in 46 games.

A three-time team captain and a tone-setter on defense, Hansen led Illinois in tackles in 2018 (95) and 2020 (68). He was named All-Big Ten in 2019 & 2020 and was a preseason All-Big Ten selection in 2021. His 12 forced fumbles are second behind only Fighting Illini legend Simeon Rice in program history (13).

Hansen initially committed to Illinois under then-head coach Bill Cubit, stayed with the program after Lovie Smith was hired, and came back to Champaign for his super-senior season to play for Bret Bielema. The word “loyalty” gets tossed around a lot these days, but Hansen is a shining example of it.

He’ll now prepare for next spring’s NFL Draft. Best of luck to Jake in his next chapter.