Calvin Hart Jr.
When Bret Bielema took over the Illini, he started making roster moves almost immediately. The first order of business – besides recruiting the state of Illinois – was to snag a transfer or two who could help bolster the depth chart.
One of the first new players Bielema brought into the fold was linebacker, Calvin Hart Jr. On paper, this looked like a good pickup for the Orange and Blue, and when Hart hit the field, he didn’t disappoint.
In the first game against Nebraska, Hart finished with six tackles, one sack, one fumble recovery, and one fumble returned for a touchdown. It was a great start for the transfer linebacker, but sadly, that would be the only game he would play last season. Hart would miss the rest of the year with an injury.
Hart is back this season, though. He is ready to pick up where he left off. Hart is going to start in the middle of the Illini defense in 2022, and it should be a great year for him and the program.
Illinois finished with a top 30 scoring defense in college football. That was with, arguably, their best linebacker on the mend. Just imagine what this program will do with Hart healthy and playing the way he played against the Cornhuskers.
Hart is poised for a breakout season. I look for Hart to not only play the entire year, but he should be one of the leading tacklers on the team. If you project out his numbers from that first game last year into a 12-game season, he would have finished with 72 tackles. Honestly, I think he is going to have more than 72 tackles in 2022.
I believe Hart is a really good linebacker who can make a huge difference for the Illinois football program. I think he could finish with 95 tackles, three sacks, two fumble recoveries, and one interception in 2022. This kid is going to have a good year.