After thinking about, Jake Hansen decided his career at Illinois didn’t end the way he would’ve liked. The Fighting Illini finished with a 2-6 record and endured a coaching change to close out the 2020 season.

Shortly after the season concluded, Hansen entered his name into the 2021 NFL Draft. It made sense. The linebacker was the team’s leading tackler and was a takeaway machine during his time in Champaign. Even after a disappointing year, he looked prepared to take the next step.

Hansen changed his mind, though, and is now returning for one more year with the program. He made his announcement with a social media post on Monday, providing Illinois with a huge boost defensively entering the 2021 season.

On Tuesday, Hansen met with the media to talk about his return. He gave new head coach Bret Bielema plenty of credit in sparking his interest in coming back, but also said, “I truly do think I have some unfinished business at Illinois.”

Here’s what Hansen had to say:

Hansen ended the 2020 season as Illinois’ top tackler, recording 68 total stops, including 10 for loss and 2.5 sacks in 8 games for the Illini. He was also credited with 4 pass break-ups, 2 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries.

Over the last three seasons, Hansen has been a major contributor on the defensive side of the football. He’s piled up 243 tackles, 26 for loss, 10 forced fumbles, 7 sacks, 6 fumble recoveries, 6 pass break-ups and 3 interceptions.

Illinois will open up the 2021 season against Nebraska in Week 0.