Illinois Football just received its first commitment from a five-star prospect in over a decade. Quarterback/Athlete Isaiah Williams announced his decision to commit to the Fighting Illini on Twitter on Friday.
Williams comes from Trinity Catholic in St. Louis, where he played under current Illinois TE coach Cory Patterson, who played an essential role in the recruitment of Williams. The choice to hire Coach Patterson before a recruiting cycle with some top players from Trinity like Williams and Shammond Cooper on Illinois’ radar was not a coincidence.
Williams is a consensus top-forty prospect — 247: five-star, 28 nationally. ESPN: four-star, 29 nationally. Rivals: four-star, 37 nationally. He was also named the 2017-18 Gatorade Missouri Football Player of the Year in his junior season.
He is the first five-star ranked prospect by any of the major recruiting services to commit to Illinois since Arrelious Benn and Martez Wilson signed with Illinois in 2007.
As a blue-chip prospect Williams had offers from most of the elites of college football, including Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon, Auburn, Clemson, Florida and Florida State.
However, Illinois was one of the few programs recruited Williams to play his preferred posistion of QB. That and his relationship with his former high school coach gave Illinois the edge in recruiting.
What does he bring?
Williams is an elite athlete. He has great speed and tremendous agility. His superb ability to make would-be-tacklers miss is truly special.
But Williams isn’t just a great athlete. He also has everything you want in a quarterback. He has a solid arm — good, not great — and shows plus downfield vision and decision making for a player his age. He has great touch on his medium to deep passes. He threw for 1,898 yards in eight games in his junior season, averaging 22.1 yards per completion and completing 61 percent of his passes.
He is on the smaller size for a QB listed at only 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds, but there have been several recent examples of shorter QBs being successful in college football — Russell Wilson, Troy Smith, Chase Daniel, Pat White, Denard Robinson, and even though they’re not recent, Doug Flutie and Drew Brees.
It’s not hyperbole to say that this can be a program-changing recruit.
Getting a commitment from four-star WR/DB Marquez Beason was a fantastic start to the 2019 recruiting cycle for Illinois in a year it needed to make some noise. Momentum was starting to build, and Illinois was gaining ground and talking to recruits that wouldn’t have thought to come to Illinois previously.
Now with adding the commitment of Isaiah Williams, this recruiting class could be the turning point for Illinois Football. This will most likely be the best Illinois recruiting class since the days of Ron Zook, and could even rival the great 2007 class.
Excitement is back for Illinois Football. Now win some games.