Hardy Nickerson Jr. leaving Cal to join father at Illinois

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) Cal linebacker Hardy Nickerson Jr. plans to transfer for his final season to play for his father at Illinois.

Cal announced the younger Nickerson's plans to move as a graduate transfer in a news release Thursday.

Hardy Nickerson was hired last month by new Illinois coach Lovie Smith as defensive coordinator.

In the release, Nickerson called the move a ''once in a lifetime opportunity to play my final year of college football for my father.''

Cal coach Sonny Dykes said he hates to lose Nickerson, but wishes him well.

Nickerson led Cal last season with 112 tackles.

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