Former Illini compete in NFL playoffs


Daily Illini File Photo

Jeffrey Allen, a student from King College Prep, signed his letter of intent with the University of Illinois today during the Football National Letter of Intent Signing Day Program in Chicago, Feb. 6, 2008. Three players, including Allen, from Chicago Public Schools signed with Illinois.

By Miles Powers-Huang

Justin Hardee cornerback New Orleans Saints:

Justin Hardee caught passes at Illinois for four seasons, finishing with 841 receiving yards and a touchdown. After going undrafted in 2017, he signed with the Houston Texans but was waived before signing with the Saints in the same year and converted to cornerback. Hardee has 17 total tackles in his career along with one interception and a defensive touchdown from a blocked punt.

Jeff Allen guard Kansas City Chiefs:

Jeff Allen enrolled at Illinois in 2008 and earned immediate playing time. He was named a second-team Freshman All-American by The Sporting News and a Second-Team All-Big Ten member by media in 2010 and 2011. His 47 consecutive starts qualifies for the third longest streak in school history.  Allen was drafted with the 44th overall pick in the second round of the 2012 NFL draft by the Chiefs. He signed with the Texans in 2016 before resigning with the Chiefs midway through the 2018 season. Allen has started 66 games in his career.

Ted Karras center New England Patriots:

After redshirting the 2011 season, Ted Karras immediately joined the starting lineup in 2012. Karras made 43 total starts over the next four years and was named All-Big Ten third team in 2015. After being drafted in the sixth round in 2016 by the Patriots, Karras found a way to make the team, something sixth round draft picks have a habit of doing for the Patriots. Super Bowl LIII will mark his third appearance in the game, after defeating the Falcons in 2017 and before losing to the Eagles in 2018. Karras has appeared in 45 games in his NFL career.


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