Illinois Football training camp is finally here, and one of the team’s backup quarterbacks is leaving.
Samari Collier announced his decision in a tweet Saturday to enter the transfer portal.
“I would like to give a thanks to Coach Lovie Smith and Coach [Stoker] for giving me the opportunity to attend the University of Illinois as a student-athlete,” Collier tweeted. “I enjoyed my time at Illinois and I have formed great relationships with the coaches, teammates and the fans. Thank you Coach Bielema and Coach Lunney for allowing me to be part of the team. With careful consideration, I have decided to enter the transfer portal with four years of eligibility [remaining]. I wish nothing but the best for everyone in Champaign, IL.”
A three-star prospect in 2021, Collier was unlikely to see any time under center this season with Tommy DeVito and Art Sitkowski at the top of the depth chart.
Collier was one of the last players to commit to head coach Lovie Smith. He later signed after Bret Bielema was hired.
Here’s what former TCR writer Perry McCarty said about Collier in his depth chart preview in the spring.
Samari Collier took a substantial leap in his development. He’s always had the physical talent, but now he looks comfortable within Barry Lunney’s offense. Consistency will be the key for Collier to move up the depth chart and potentially see playing time.
Collier was often pressured in the spring game and his receivers struggled to get open against the first-team secondary, but when he had his opportunities he took advantage of them. Collier displayed a strong arm and also a nice touch when throwing the intermediate routes. He has plenty of mobility when he needs to scramble and exhibits a smooth stride when running.
As a redshirt-freshman, Collier has development time ahead of him and could move up into the top backup spot if he continues to progress at the current rate. Collier brings some physical tools that not all quarterbacks possess and was certainly a nice surprise coming out of the spring.