First-year head coach Bret Bielema has the distinction of having the most super-seniors among every Power 5 team in the nation. With over 20 fifth-year players on the roster, he boasts five more than any other B1G school, and among those are quarterback Brandon Peters as well as four defensive and four offensive lineman.

On the other side of the ball, All-Big Ten linebacker Jake Hansen and starting defensive back Tony Adams also are on that list.

With just over a week into his new job, Bielema was joined by a pair of his seniors in his office. Offensive lineman Doug Kramer and Vederian Lowe met with their new coach and let the new coach know they’d be around for another year. Both expressed their desire to stay in Champaign, and with the new leadership create a winning culture at Illinois.

Kramer and Lowe were the first to announce their return to Illinois, and were the beginning of the trend toward the players staying on.

“They wanted to come back and take this program to a higher level,” said Beilema. “The buy-in from them has been pretty impressive, and that affected this group of normal seniors.”

“They get one more year with it. They get one more year to win.”