Bret Bielema revealed that an Illinois linebacker will not be going through spring practice.

Shammond Cooper plans to enter the NCAA transfer portal, Bielema told reporters during his Monday press conference.

“Shammond Cooper grabbed me about two weeks ago and had gone through our entire (offseason) program and had put himself in a position to make a transfer out of here and didn’t want to go through spring ball,” Bielema said. “He’s kind of got an idea of some teams. Any time these situations pop up I just try to express to these kids, especially in Shammond’s situation, anything I can do to help facilitate where you want to go, how you want to do it, please let me know. Excited for him and his new opportunity.”

Cooper was with the Illini for 4 seasons. With his 2019 redshirt and 2020 NCAA COVID-19 waiver applied, he is considered a junior entering the 2023 season.

Over 4 seasons, Cooper played in 18 games, recording 9 tackles. Out of Trinity Catholic in St. Louis, Cooper was a 4-star recruit on the 247Sports Composite, rated the No. 4 player out of Missouri in the 2019 recruiting class. He chose Illinois over offers from 32 other programs, including Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin.

The next transfer portal window for undergraduates opens on May 1. Entry into the portal does not bind a player to leave, though it sounds like Cooper’s mind is made up on continuing his college football career elsewhere.

[H/T 247Sports]