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CHAMPAIGN — Illinois football will miss two veteran linebackers during the 2021 season, with Jake Hansen and Milo Eifler both declared for the NFL draft.

The man who is taking over that position group in Champaign-Urbana certainly isn't short on experience.

Andy Buh on Monday was named the Illini linebackers coach, adding a third individual to the defensive portion of Bret Bielema's first Illinois staff.

"It is great to bring Andy Buh and all his experience back to the Big Ten here at the University of Illinois, where he will work with our linebackers as well as our special teams,” Bielema said in a statement. “Andy has shown to me the ability to affect young men in a positive way (and) to help them understand the game of football, as well as the game of life.”

Once an athlete at Palomar College and Nevada, Buh has coached at 10 different institutions dating back to 1997: Nevada, California, San Diego State, Fresno State, Stanford, Wisconsin, California, Kentucky, Maryland, Rutgers and Arizona. He was Arizona's outside linebackers coach during the 2020 campaign.

Buh was Bielema's linebackers coach at Wisconsin in 2012, when the Badgers won a Big Ten championship.

"I want to thank Coach Bielema and the entire Illini football program for this tremendous opportunity,” Buh said in a statement. “We, as a family, are excited to reunite with Coach Bielema and return to Big Ten country. Coach is one of the best I have worked with during my career, and I can’t wait to reconnect."

Among Buh's coaching accomplishments is helping Maryland's defense post 37 sacks and allow 212 passing yards per game in 2016.

Though Buh's new linebacker corps won't feature Hansen or Eifler, it isn't devoid of talent. Tarique Barnes, Khalan Tolson and Shammond Cooper are the top returnees, and both Barnes and Tolson received starting time during the 2020 season prior to suffering season-ending injuries.

Buh's hire comes one day after Bielema selected Ben Miller to lead Illinois' tight ends and Terrance Jamison to oversee the Illini defensive line. Buh and Jamison join a defensive staff that will be led by coordinator Ryan Walters.

Colin Likas covers Illinois football and high school sports at The News-Gazette. He can be reached at clikas@news-gazette.com, or on Twitter at @clikasNG.com, or on Twitter at @clikasNG.

College/Prep Sports Reporter

Colin Likas covers Illinois football and high school sports at The News-Gazette. His email is clikas@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@clikasNG).

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