The 90 Illini #1: Jake Hansen

Aug 27, 2021

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Hey look ma, I made it.

This is the first time in five years (?) where I completed the countdown on time without cheating. One year I got to 31 the week of the game and then did 30-21, 20-11, and 10-1 in three long posts leading up to the game. This year, after some bumps here and there, it's the day before the season and I'm publishing #1 on my countdown.

And I decided to go defense instead of offense this year. The running game finished third in the Big Ten last season, and with a few tweaks to the passing game, you can see a path for the offense to be decent. On defense, it's going to take a few players providing Herculean efforts. At the top of the Hercules list? Jake Hansen.

1. Jake Hansen

Uniform number: 35
Year in school: Senior (1 year to play 1)
Height: 6'-1" -- Weight: 235 lbs.
Hometown: Tarpon Springs, Florida
High School: East Lake HS
Five best offers: Iowa State, Air Force, Army, Florida International, Florida Atlantic
Tom Cruise rating:

2020 statistics: Played in all 8 games. 68 tackles (10 TFL), 2.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 4 PBU's, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries.


It's been quite the journey for Jake Hansen. First off, he's committed to Iowa State in high school but then Paul Rhodes is fired at the end of the 2015 season. So that December, with no solid answer yet from the new Iowa State staff, Hansen is looking for a new college home. Bill Cubit, having just gotten the extension on his interim tag, offers him and he commits to Illinois.

Cubit is then fired in early March and Lovie Smith is hired as the new head coach. That very first camp, Lovie starts talking about Hansen and you can tell this is a player he wants to use a lot in the future. Hansen plays in all 12 games, and once the season went south and the rebuild was on, he played a fair bit that November, even starting one game.

In 2017, he's with the first string all camp and looks to be one of the starters at linebacker until an ACL tear late in camp ends his season. Hansen misses the entire 2017 season but returns in 2018 and starts every game. And he's been written in ink in the starting lineup ever since.

2021 Outlook

I see it like this: Hansen's 2017 injury provided him two additional seasons. Had he not been injured in 2017, he would have played in every game from 2016 to 2019 and would have graduated after the 2019 bowl season. Instead, with the injury causing him to miss the 2017 season, he used his redshirt year and could be around until 2020. And because 2020 didn't count, he can now return for a sixth year in 2021. So, no injury, he departs after 2019. Injury, he departs after 2021. Chopped one year off the front end and added two years on the back end.

I mean, in a way, he tried pretty hard to not be here in 2021. Meaning, he was set to graduate in 2019 but an injury extended his time in Champaign. And then he declared for the draft after 2020 and was as good as gone until Bret Bielema talked him into returning (in March).

So I'm turning this into a movie script and deciding that Hansen has a higher purpose for still being in Champaign in August of 2021. Commits to Iowa State but they fire his coach - there must be some reason he's supposed to be in Champaign. He plays as a true freshman so his career will end in 2019. Nope, a redshirt year due to an injury means he gets another year, and then Covid means he gets another year. Then he declares for the draft and plans to skip that Covid bonus year yet the circumstances bring him back around to Champaign once again. Why?

Find out when you go see Higher Purpose starring Jake Hansen. In stadiums this fall.

Comments on August 27, 2021 @ 08:27 PM

Nebraska vs Illinois Betting Preview | College Football Picks And Predictions

ILLhaveaBrewski on August 28, 2021 @ 01:21 AM

You’ve made it to the big time , Robert!

You’ve got spammers

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