Illinois long snapper Ethan Tabel was apparently battling a pretty serious injury in the last couple games of the season.

Tabel announced on Monday morning that he’s undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL which he suffered in the Iowa game on Dec. 5. Despite the injury, Tabel still played in Illinois’ final two games of the season.

Here’s the announcement:


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Tabel also said he’s returning to the Illinois football team in 2021. Tabel was a senior this season but the NCAA has granted an additional year of eligibility to all football players due to the pandemic.

He’ll be playing for new Illinois coach Bret Bielema, who was hired earlier this month.

Bielema seems to be off to a great start. In addition to Tabel, three offensive lineman have already announced they will be returning for the 2021 campaign.

Illinois fired Lovie Smith after a 2-6 campaign that included three straight losses to end the season.