CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Isaiah Williams is switching from quarterback to wide receiver. The highly touted Illinois recruit met with first-year head coach Bret Bielema after spring ball and made the decision to change positions. Bielema announced the move during his spring ball wrap-up press conference on Tuesday.
The St. Louis native played in five games and started four at quarterback last fall, completing 41 percent of his passes for 393 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. He also ran 63 times for 389 yards and one touchdown, including setting the Illinois single-game rushing record in a win at Rutgers, rushing for 192 yards in his first career start.
Williams has played some wideout for the Illini, catching three passes in his true freshman season in 2019 for nine yards. The highly touted prospect was the headliner in the Class of 2019 for the Illini, ranked 116th nationally according to 247Sports. He chose Illinois ahead of dozens of other Power 5 offers including Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, Auburn and more, but most had recruited him as a wide receiver, not quarterback.
Williams is one of 10 players who are changing positions, according to Bielema. He rattled off the list during his Zoom call, with several already announced, but now official heading towards fall camp. Along with Williams, Marquez Beason is also sticking with offense at wide receiver. Michael Marchese is staying at tight end, Kyron Cumby at running back, with Caleb Griffin at both receiver and kicker. Redshirt freshman Cooper Davis is moving from outside linebacker to tight end, while Marc Mondesir and Central grad Ben Schultz will now play outside linebacker. Preston Engel is moving to tight end, with former Monticello standout Dylan Thomas switching to safety.