URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — The California-native is miles away from his home on the west coast, but for Trevon Sidney, coming to Champaign was just meant to be.
“My dad is actually from out here, he’s from Decatur, Illinois so when I came and took my visit, some of my family was out on the visit with me so that helped a lot,” Sidney said. “I love my family so it’s great. I have a sister here, I have aunts, cousins so it feels really good.”
The USC grad-transfer was a top-150 recruit nationally out of high school, but as a Trojan he only caught 10 passes for 139 yards. While the opportunities weren’t there for him in LA, the same can’t be said for the Illini who ranked 12th in the big ten for passing yards last season.
“He’s got tremendous hands, so I’m excited about Trevon. He’s about as sure handed as probably any kid I’ve ever been around,” offensive coordinator Rod Smith said. “He’s phenomenal at catching the football, I hope I’m not putting too much pressure on him.
“I think we’re deeper than we’ve ever been and that helps with competition,” Sidney said. “I feel like it’s a little more competitive, getting more gritty so that’s good.”
Sidney isn’t the only former Trojan that will be wearing an Illini jersey this season, Josh Imatorbhehe and Olewole Betiku also traded the Pac-12 for the Big-10, with Sidney’s decision coming just a few days after Betiku’s.
“I just felt needed, felt wanted,” Sidney said. “I felt like there was a bigger role here so I wanted to put myself in the biggest role I could put myself in and that was the best opportunity for me.”
And this opportunity brings the chance to start for the Illini, where his family in the Midwest can finally watch him play college football, something that’s never happened before.