(WCIA) — Jake Hansen was all-in on the NFL draft process–but that all changed when he got a call from Bret Bielema in January. Last week, Hansen announced he was returning to the program, saying the new coaching staff played a major role in his decision to come back to Illinois.
Hansen signed with an agent, and had an invite to the NFL combine, so he had to go through an extensive process which took several months. He was eventually able to receive a waiver from the NCAA, with the hopes of ending his college career on a better note than he started.
“I truly feel like I do have some unfinished business at Illinois,” says Hansen. “There’s a couple things I never did, I was never a first team All-Big Ten guy, never played in a Big Ten championship, wasn’t able to pay in a Rose Bowl, those are the things I’ve wanted to do for all five years, and I wasn’t able to do, and after talks with Coach Bielema and thinking it through, I think that’s something that’s very possible with him. so that’s ultimately what was the tipping point for me.”
Meanwhile, other Illini are sticking with their chances in the draft including wide reciever Josh Imatorbhebhe. He’s been training in Arizona with other NFL draft prospects. Imatorbhebhe led the team in receptions and receiving yards for the last two seasons, and declared for the draft right before Illinois’ final game of the season against Penn State.
Imatorbhebhe transferred to Illinois after playing at USC, and says his character will allow him to succeed at the next level.
“I’m somebody that’s just going to do everything he can to take advantage of every opportunity that’s given to him,” says Imatorbhebhe. “I feel like that’s something that I did at Illinois, I wasn’t leading the nation in receptions, or catches, or targets or whatever, but for the most part, when the ball did come my way, I made a play. and I feel like that’s something that I can say confidently that takes advantage of the opportunities that’s presented to him”
Imatorbhebhe will join Nate Hobbs, Kendrick Green, and Milo Eifler at Illinois pro day on March 17th.