Nate Hobbs declares for NFL Draft


The Daily Illini File Photo

Senior Nate Hobbs returns an interception during the game against Rutgers on Nov. 2 at Memorial Stadium. The Illini won 38-10.

By Jackson Janes, Assistant Sports Editor

Senior defensive back Nate Hobbs announced Saturday that he will forgo the additional year of eligibility granted to football players and declare for the NFL Draft, becoming the fifth Illini to declare this year. Wide receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe, offensive lineman Kendrick Green and linebackers Jake Hansen and Milo Eifler have already announced their decisions.

“My four years at Illinois has been an experience that has prepared me for life,” Hobbs wrote on Instagram. “Through adversity we always found a way! I want to take this time to thank my coaches, teammates and the great fans of Illini Nation for this ride.”

Hobbs made 35 starts for the Illini across four years with the program, becoming one of the most reliable defender for Lovie Smith’s squad.  The Louisville, Kentucky, native made 168 total tackles throughout his time in Champaign, though he also finishes his collegiate career with three interceptions, one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

In 2020, Hobbs accumulated 31 total tackles, though his most important contribution came when he picked off a Noah Vedral pass in the fourth quarter against Rutgers, setting up a game-winning 47-yard field goal from James McCourt to give the Illini their first win of the season.

Hobbs is the fourth Illini starter to announce his departure, following Hansen and Eifler who will be declaring for the NFL Draft while defensive lineman Owen Carney Jr. will enter the transfer portal.



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