WCIA — Illinois defensive end Isaiah Gay will be using his extra year of eligibility. The senior announced via his twitter account that he will stay with the program for the 2021-22 season.
“All I ever wanted was an opportunity coming from a small city,” said Gay via twitter. “These last four years have been nothing but love here at Illinois. I’m also thankful for each obstacle and ready to prove that hard times don’t last.”
Gay is the second senior from the defensive line to announce his return, after Jamal Woods also announced his is staying with the program. Gay is a much-needed returner with 19 tackles last season, with 27 his junior year. He’s played a meaningful role with the unit since his freshman year. The Illini also lost Owen Carney Jr. to the transfer portal, making Gay a crucial return for the 2021 season.
Illini head coach Bret Bielema recently hired a defensive line coach Terrance Jamison who spoke to the media on Monday. Jamison joined the Illini from Purdue, as a former player of Bielema. Jamison says he hasn’t spent much time watching film, but is focused on getting to know the players.
“We got to build trust, and they got to know that you care about them before they care about what you know,” said Jamison. “The other thing that I’ve learned is how to put your guys in the position to have success, that comes from spending time with them, focusing on drill work, and seeing some of their strengths and weaknesses, and putting your guys in a position to have success.”