Punter Blake Hayes returning for fifth season

Local Sports

(WCIA) — The special teams unit will remain mostly undisturbed after Blake Hayes announces he will be using his extra season of eligibility in 2021. Hayes has been the Illinois starting punter for the last four years, and joins other specialists Ethan Tabel and James McCourt who also announced they will be coming back.

Hayes is the Illinois leader in career punting yardage with more than 10,000+ plus yards. The NFL punting prospect was also named to the Phil Steele Preseason All-American third team after this season.

Blake Hayes had a brief stint on the ground this season averaging 17 yards per carry after two fake punt attempted at Nebraska and Northwestern to give Illinois a first down.

Hayes is among six Illini seniors who decided to return for the 2021 season, while five players have decided to declare for the NFL draft.

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