CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Illinois defensive back Tony Adams will be returning for an extra year of eligibility with the Illini, he announced on Sunday. Last season the senior had 51 tackles, and an interception. He’s the second senior on the Illini secondary to announce his return, after Kendall Smith announced he was returning earlier this month, while Nate Hobbs declared for the NFL Draft.
Adams decided not to declare of the NFL draft, saying he has “more to prove” at the college level. He also missed the last two games of the 2020-21 season, after testing positive for COVID-19. Adams spoke with the new coaching staff, and head coach Bret Bielema, ultimately deciding to continue his career at Illinois for a fifth season:
“I would love to show kids that you could stay home and win,” says Adams. ” I didn’t want to declare for the draft, because I knew I had more to prove, but I did know that I had to put myself in the best position to win. I had to clear my mind, talk to people I love, and just try to figure myself out more, and come to the best decision possible.”
This winter, Adams spent two weeks training in Washington D.C. with former Illini running back Reggie Corbin, and sought advice from several teammates and coaches, including Cory Patterson who was retained on the Illinois staff.
He also has a connection to defensive coordinator Ryan Walters who coached at Missouri and recruited Adams. After speaking with Bret Bielema and the coaching staff, he hasn’t decided if he will play safety or cornerback this season, but is willing to do both.