Williams becomes Illini receiver | sports

Williams becomes Illini receiver |  sports

Illinois coach Bret Bielema announced Wednesday afternoon the redshirt freshman from St. Louis is making the position switch after competing at quarterback each of the last two seasons. “It was something he and I discussed,” Bielema said. “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.”

Williams moving to receiver for Illini | Sports Illinois wrapped up spring practices last month, with Williams locked in as the backup quarterback. Brandon Peters, the starter each of the last two seasons, asserted himself again as the likely favorite to start under center when Illinois opens the Bielema era on Aug. 28 at Nebraska with a strong showing in spring ball.

Williams started four games at quarterback last season, finishing with 393 passing yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. He only completed 26 of 63 passes, though, but was a threat in the run game. But now, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Williams will now try to make a difference on the field at another position. He’s not unfamiliar at wide receiver, having played the position once before during the 2019 Redbox Bowl, where Williams caught three passes for nine yards during the Illini’s 35-20 loss to California.

His most memorable performance at quarterback happened during the Illini’s 23-20 win at Rutgers last November, with Sitkowski on the opposite sideline with the Scarlet Knights. Williams rushed for 192 yards, a single-game record by an Illinois quarterback, and wound up with 389 rushing yards on 63 carries and one touchdown for the season. Since the spring game on April 19, Illinois landed a transfer quarterback in Art Sitkowski from Rutgers. Coran Taylor and Matt Robinson are other quarterbacks on the Illini roster who have started a game at Illinois during their careers.

“The things I think Isaiah brings, regardless of what position he’s playing, is he’s a leader great magnetic energy,” Bielema said. “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.” Source www.news-gazette.com

Colin Likas is the preps coordinator at The News-Gazette. He can be reached at clikas@news-gazette.com, or on Twitter at @clikasNG.

Colin Likas is the preps coordinator at The News-Gazette. He can be reached at clikas@news-gazette.com, or on Twitter at @clikasNG.

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