(WCIA) — Illinois linebacker Jake Hansen was among 90 players named the Bednarik Award Watch List. The annual award is given to the National Defensive Player of the Year. Hansen was also named a preseason All-American this year.
Hansen is on track to become Illinois’ All-Time forced fumble leader, he’s just four away from taking the record, chasing Simeon Rice who has 13. 2019 was Hansen’s best year, he led the nation with seven forced fumbles, and was a Butkus Award Semifinalist. This season, he had 68 tackles, and 10 tackles for loss in just eight games. Hansen declared for the NFL Draft at the end of the 2020 season, but decided to come back to Illinois for his senior season.
The last three winners of the Bednarik Award include current NFL Players Zaven Collins (Tulsa), Chase Young (Ohio State), and Josh Allen (Kentucky).
Illinois Football is scheduled for their season-opener on August 28th against Nebraska.