4. Illinois has weapons at wide receiver
I touched on how I believe Luke Altmyer is a good quarterback and that Illinois might have something special on our hands with him behind center. What comes with a good quarterback is opportunities for wide receivers.
I knew Illinois had good pass catchers, but they finally got a chance to really show out against Toledo. All eyes are usually on Isaiah Williams, as he is the most electric playmaker on the roster. Illinois didn’t do a lot to get him in space against Toledo, which probably needs to change down the road, but he still managed to have five receptions for 51 yards.
I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly Altmyer developed a red zone target. Pat Bryant is his go-to guy around the end zone, as Bryant finished the game with six receptions for 64 yards and two touchdowns. The sure hands of Bryant helped secure some pretty big catches.
Speaking of big catches, hi Casey Washington. What a journey this kid has been on. He caught the game-winning pass in the nine-overtime game against Penn State. He would transfer to Wake Forest for a minute but would then come back to Illinois in the same offseason. And then he pulls out one of the biggest catches for the program in the past decade.
That insane catch by Washington to extend the drive and the game was incredible. When Altmyer launched that ball in the air, I didn’t think we had a chance. Washington saved the program and, potentially, the season.
Illinois’ weapons at wide receiver are really good. Depth-wise, I am not sure I have seen better for the program in the past 20 years. The Illini offense is buzzing right now.