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Cal's Hardy Nickerson transferring to Illinois to play for his dad

Nov 29, 2014; Berkeley, CA, USA; Brigham Young Cougars running back Algernon Brown (24) carries the ball for a touchdown ahead of California Golden Bears linebacker Hardy Nickerson (47) during the third quarter at Memorial Stadium. The Brigham Young Cougars defeated the California Golden Bears 42-35. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 29, 2014; Berkeley, CA, USA; Brigham Young Cougars running back Algernon Brown (24) carries the ball for a touchdown ahead of California Golden Bears linebacker Hardy Nickerson (47) during the third quarter at Memorial Stadium. The Brigham Young Cougars defeated the California Golden Bears 42-35. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois has suffered some rough injury news this spring, but the Illini got some good news Thursday. Cal's leading tackler Hardy Nickerson, a grad transfer, announced he's going to play for the Illini in 2016.

ANNOUNCEMENT pic.twitter.com/ApAzKh2jS3

— Hardy Nickerson (@younghardy_) April 21, 2016

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to play my final year of college football for my father and Head Coach Lovie Smith," the 6-0, 230-pound Nickerson said in a statement. "It is an opportunity that I simply cannot pass up."

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Earlier this spring, his dad Hardy Nickerson Sr. became the defensive coordinator at Illinois for Smith.

In 2015, the younger Nickerson led the Bears with 112 tackles and made honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection. He finished with 246 tackles, 9.0 tackles for loss (-27 yards), 2.0 sacks (-9 yards), one interception that he returned eight yards, two pass breakups, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries that he returned 27 yards and one quarterback hurry in three years at Cal.