CHAMPAIGN — Isaiah Williams arrived at Illinois heralded as the long run on the quarterback place for the Illini.
But if Williams sees the sector in 2021, it’s going to be at huge receiver.
Illinois coach Bret Bielema introduced Wednesday afternoon the redshirt freshman from St. Louis is making the place change after competing at quarterback every of the final two seasons.
“It was something he and I discussed,” Bielema stated. “When he got done with the (spring) game, he wanted to take a couple days to look at it. He was very impressive in those three practices after the spring game, and he decided to make that move.”
Illinois wrapped up spring practices final month, with Williams locked in because the backup quarterback. Brandon Peters, the starter every of the final two seasons, asserted himself once more because the probably favourite to begin below middle when Illinois opens the Bielema period on Aug. 28 versus Nebraska with a robust exhibiting in spring ball.
Since the spring recreation on April 19, Illinois landed a switch quarterback in Art Sitkowski from Rutgers. Coran Taylor and Matt Robinson are different quarterbacks on the Illini roster who’ve began a recreation at Illinois throughout their careers.
Williams began 4 video games at quarterback final season, ending with 393 passing yards, 4 touchdowns and two interceptions. He solely accomplished 26 of 63 passes, although, however was a menace within the run recreation.
His most memorable efficiency at quarterback occurred through the Illini’s 23-20 win at Rutgers final November, with Sitkowski on the alternative sideline with the Scarlet Knights. Williams rushed for 192 yards, a single-game report by an Illinois quarterback, and wound up with 389 dashing yards on 63 carries and one landing for the season.
But now, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Williams will now strive to make a distinction on the sector at one other place. He’s not unfamiliar at huge receiver, having performed the place as soon as earlier than through the 2019 Redbox Bowl, by which Williams caught three passes for 9 yards through the Illini’s 35-20 loss to California.
“The things I think Isaiah brings, regardless of what position he’s playing, is he’s a leader great magnetic energy,” Bielema stated. “Does it with a lot of intensity and attitude. I can’t stress the value of what he brings as a person. He has extremely high football IQ, and at wide receiver, the advantage he brings there is he’s literally been playing quarterback for a large portion of his career.”
Bielema characterised Williams’ place change as a mutual resolution, including that “I wouldn’t say it was me coming to him or him coming to me.”
“I could just see where his mind was,” Bielema stated. “I just laid out what was in front of him, and he was eventually the one who said, ‘Coach, I want to do this.'”
Colin Likas covers Illinois soccer and highschool sports activities at The News-Gazette. He will be reached at [email protected], or on Twitter at @clikasNG.