Top 10 most painful Illinois football transfer portal departures of all time

There isn't a long history of transfer portal departures from the Illinois football program, but there are some painful ones we should remember
Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl - Illinois v Louisiana Tech
Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl - Illinois v Louisiana Tech / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages
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4. Marquez Beason

I was really hoping Illinois football was turning a corner late in the 2010s. Lovie Smith’s program was starting to land some big-time recruits, and Marquez Beason was one of the most impressive gets for the program.

Coming out of Duncanville High School, Beason was a four-star recruit who was the No. 99 player in the class of 2019. He had every team in the country eyeing him, but Illinois ended up being his destination out of high school.

Beason came into the Illinois program as a cornerback. He was looking great as a freshman during preseason training. But Beason ended up getting injured. He went down with a knee injury that sidelined him for his entire freshman campaign.

After that knee injury, Beason was never the same. In 2020, he played in six games and started two of those contests at cornerback. Lovie was then fired at the end of the season. In stepped Bret Bielema. Beason then switched from cornerback to wide receiver.

Beason didn’t get action in 2021, and after the season, he hit the transfer portal. He ended up committing to Alabama A&M. In 2022, Beason had 17 tackles and four pass deflections on defense. He also had one reception for 56 yards and a touchdown as a wide receiver. Bearson then had three tackles, two pass deflections, and an interception this past season.

This transfer pains me greatly. The future was so bright for Beason. He didn’t do anything wrong, but his body failed him. If he remains healthy, he could have easily had a legendary career at Illinois. Instead, his body let him down, and he ended up transferring out of the program.