We’ve already updated you on the likes of Jihad Ward and Dawuane Smoot joining and re-signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Special Teams aficionado Justin Hardee will be suiting up for the New York Jets.
Here’s an update on some other Illini Alums and where they’re headed in 2021.
Ted Karras — Guard/Center
After a 1-year stint with the Miami Dolphins as their starting center in every game last season, Karras returns to the New England Patriots — the team that drafted him and the team he suited up for his first four seasons in the NFL.
The Patriots have been the most active team this offseason, and Karras is part of a changing of the guard in New England with all of this incoming talent.
Patriots’ offseason includes re-signing Cam Newton and Deatrich Wise, signing Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, Matthew Judon, Nelson Agholor, Davon Godchaux, Jalen Mills, Kendrick Bourne and Henry Anderson, plus reunions with Trent Brown, Kyle Van Noy and Ted Karras.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 18, 2021
Hardy Nickerson — Linebacker/Special Teams
Hardy Nickerson spent three years with the California Golden Bears before joining Illinois for his final year of collegiate football. He now re-joins his college coaches Lovie Smith and Miles Smith in the pros at the Houston Texans.
Nickerson was on the Minnesota Vikings last year, playing mostly on special teams with a start at middle linebacker late in the season.
The deal is for 1 year, the amount not known at this point.
Malik Turner — Wide Receiver/Special Teams
Turner has re-signed with the Dallas Cowboys on another 1-year deal. He played sparingly a season ago.
Tavon Wilson — Strong Safety/Special Teams
The wise, old professor of this group — Tavon Wilson will be playing in his tenth NFL season this coming Fall. After four years in New England, followed by four years in Detroit with the Lions, and last year with the Indianapolis Colts, Wilson is finally ready to play in some better weather with the San Francisco 49ers.
49ers today made official their 1-year deals for:— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) March 22, 2021
* NT/DT D.J. Jones
* S Jaquiski Tartt
* S Tavon Wilson
A veteran presence who is past his prime, he can still contribute as a rotational strong safety and as a special teams plug and play defensive back.