Illini football players excited for return to campus, several still questioning timing


WCIA — In one week, Illinois football and men’s basketball players could start returning to campus. It’s a small step towards normalcy during this unprecedented time but seniors Jake Hansen and Nate Hobbs say they are contemplating the right time to arrive. The two Illini leaders want to be with their teammates for summer workouts, but also want to make sure they’re physically ready to go come fall camp. For Hobbs, the Illinois Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announcement for players returning to campus last week (read here: came as a little bit of a surprise.

“The stipulations that we have to come back under were more than I expected,” Hobbs said on a FaceTime call with reporters on Wednesday. “I’m still thinking about it but I’ll be back in the near future though.”

For Hansen, it’s all about getting enough time to workout and stay in shape. The Florida native can do that with ease right now, living at home with his parents. The Sunshine State has largely opened up with few restrictions, meaning the Illini linebacker has plenty of options to lift, run and exercise as he sees fit.

“The hesitation for me isn’t as much about the germs and me worrying about getting the coronavirus, for me it’s more of like, ‘Am I going to be able to get the quality of work in I would usually get during this time in the summer?'” Hansen said. “And if not, I’d like to be at home where I could work out in my personal gym and do things that I know where I can get the right amount of work, the quality of work that I want to get in. If we are able to do that at Illinois, then by all means, I’m going to be at Illinois as soon as possible.”

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