Alec Bryant hasn’t played a down of football since the 2020 season.

The Virginia Tech transfer was a redshirt 2 years ago, ultimately transferring to Illinois in August 2021. Since he entered the portal that July, he was unable to play for the Illini in the 2021 season.

However, the former 4-star recruit is finally eligible to play once more, and with a nearly 2-year absence from the field in the rearview mirror — last playing against Virginia on Dec. 12, 2020 with Virginia Tech — he hopes to make his move up the depth chart within the Illinois defense.

“I just get chills throughout my body because I know [the season opener] coming,” Bryant said, according to 247Sports. “Two weeks away, so I know my time is coming soon. I’m excited. I’m ready to see my team and what’s going to happen.”

It’s an adjustment for Bryant, who was a former defensive end but has made the transition to outside linebacker. He credited position coach Kevin Kane for showing him the ropes and helping him make the switch.

“Whatever you see on the field this year is from Coach Kane. He taught me everything, just to be more patient and how and when to use my techniques. He really helped me develop,” he said. “When you’re playing defensive line, you’re just straight-attacking all the time. But sometimes playing outside linebacker, you got to read first and then attack. It’s just a different mindset, but I love it though.”