No. 3 will be primetime television for Illinois for years to come.
The first commitment for the class of 2019 was a doozy for the Illini and Lovie Smith. Beason comes with high expectations to see the field early and often. Pump the brakes on that a bit. Cornerback is a talented position for Illinois, with Nate Hobbs and Quan Martin holding the starting spots, and looking good doing it so far.
However, the coaching staff will find a way to get Beason on the field. He's too exciting a player to have sit on the sidelines in a make-or-break season.
That's why you could see some 4-2-5 looks with a third corner to cover the slot, like they ran last year a bit.
He'll also be involved on special teams in a return role. Or gunner on punt team.
The important thing is to involve him as much as possible, because he is a rare talent Illinois fans haven't seen very much of recently. A 4.43 40-yard dash. One of the top sprinters in Texas high school last year. A breathtaking athlete that can take the top off a defense, or lock up a future star, just like he did against powerhouse Allen and five-star wide receiver Theo Wease. He can attest to Marquez Beason's ability at cornerback.
He'll seamlessly transition to a starter spot sooner than later, a franchise player who will help rebuild a moribund defense.
As a player comp, the obvious is Terry Hawthorne. A similar two-way player at East St. Louis, Black Cat turned into a terrific corner for the Illini on two bowl teams.
No offense to Hawthorne, a player I enjoyed, but I personally see more of a Vontae Davis, pure playmaker with speed to burn. Fluid movement. Nothing lost. Instinctual. A future pro.
I love posting highlight reels of this guy, so for your viewing pleasure: