Illinois football continued to have players rack up accolades on Wednesday afternoon.
Just days ago, the Illini had defensive lineman Jer’Zhan Newton take home multiple awards. He won the Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year award, Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year, and made the first-team All-Big Ten.
Newton’s accomplishments are incredible, but Illinois also had someone on the offensive side of the ball take home some accolades. On Wednesday, the Big Ten announced the offensive awards. Making the first-team All-Big Ten at wide receiver was Isaiah Williams.
I believe Williams would have won the Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year award if it wasn’t for Marvin Harrison Jr., who has a chance to be the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. Williams still takes home one of the two receiver spots on the first-team, though.
Isaiah Williams has been a rock for the Illinois football offense
The career of Williams has been quite the roller coaster. I am not sure if he would have come to Champaign if he wasn’t promised a spot at quarterback. This decision ended up being a good one at the time.
Williams tried the quarterback role for a couple of seasons, but with Bret Bielema now in place, the talented pass catcher was convinced to move to the wide receiver role.
Since moving to wide receiver, Williams has blossomed as a player. In year one, he had 47 receptions for 525 yards and four touchdowns. Last season, Williams nearly doubled his catches, as he had 82 receptions for 715 yards and five touchdowns.
Williams had his best season in 2023, though. He had 82 receptions for 1,055 yards and five touchdowns. He was a rock for the Illinois offense. When we needed a big play or to get a first down, Williams was always top of mind.
Listed as a junior, there is a chance Williams could come back in 2024. But, at the end of the day, it wouldn’t shock me to see him head to the NFL. He has a bright future ahead, and I can’t wait to see how his career plays out.