CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Illinois football will be looking for a new punt returner this season after Jordan Holmes announced he is leaving the program. The walk-on turned starting returner for the Illini played in nine games returning punts, as well as a back-up receiver. The Columbia native led Illinois with 10 punt returns last season, to go along with 73 yards. For his career, he caught two passes as a sophomore and two as a freshman.
“This will be a surprise for many of you but my time as a football player at the University of Illinois has come to a close,” Holmes wrote on his Instagram. “I want to say thank you to everyone who made living out my dream possible. The game of football has brought me so many friendships, experiences and memories that I’ll cherish forever.”
Holmes had a career long 17 yard punt return at Michigan State before going down with a season ending knee injury. It helped set up the Illini’s 37-34 win over the Spartans, the biggest comeback win in program history.
“Illini Nation, THANK YOU,” Holmes continues. “You are the best fans in the nation and I won’t forget the 2 years I had playing in front of y’all. This is the end of my journey, thank you to everyone who made this experience so special to me, I will always bleed Orange & Blue, ILL.”