Illinois is gearing up for the 2021 season and Year 1 under new head coach Bret Bielema.

Entering Bielema’s first season in Champaign, a long-term rebuild may be in the picture for the Illini. The team has won just 12 games over the past three seasons and has not posted a winning season since 2011.

One unit that should be strong this season is the offensive line. That unit is led by a trio of veterans with 35+ career starts, making Illinois the only school in the nation with that type of experience on the line.

On Thursday, Illinois officially announced the 6 players that will serve as captains for the team this season. Two of the aforementioned veteran linemen – Vederian Lowe and Douge Kramer Jr. – are among the offensive captains.

Defensive players to serve as captains this season include Tony Adams Jr., Owen Carney, and Jake Hansen. Punter Blake Hayes is the other captain for the season.

Illinois will open play in Week 0 against Nebraska. That showdown is set for Aug. 28.