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Illinois football standout receiver has to make a decision about his future.



Illinois football
Nov 11, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini wide receiver Isaiah Williams (1) outruns Indiana Hoosiers defensive back Jamari Sharpe (22) to score a touchdown in overtime to defeat the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Illinois football receiver could go to the NFL, the transfer portal, or back to Champaign.

Redshirt junior Isaiah Williams has a serious decision to make about his football future over the coming months. Recruited as a quarterback, Williams has become one of the best wide receivers in program history. Since his conversion to wide receiver, Williams has led the team in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. This season, Williams led the Big Ten in receptions (82), was second in yards (1,055), and led the conference in receptions per game (6.8). He was also a Big Ten First Team selection.

Williams has three options. He can declare for the NFL Draft, return to Illinois, or transfer

Where he stands in the draft.

If Williams were to declare for the draft, he would have to hope for a combine invite. Since he’s a redshirt junior — he’s been in the program four years — he’d technically be eligible for one. In addition to performing well on the postseason bowl circuit, he would have to run well at the combine. Williams is a slot receiver, so his best hope is to be a top-100 pick. He’d be in a pool of receivers with the likes of Ladd McConkey (Georgia), Jacob Cowing (Arizona), Jalen McMillian (Washington), Dominic Lovett (Georgia), and Malachi Corley (Western Kentucky).

Going back to school.

Most publications currently have him anywhere from the 3rd to the 6th round. That will change closer to the end of the college football season. Williams has until January 16th to officially declare for the draft. He has the benefit of playing for a coach who worked in the NFL, so getting sound information should not be an issue.

If he feels that he can make as much — or more — in NIL and add to his draft stock, he could return to Illinois football or enter the transfer portal. The Missouri native has two years of eligibility, should he decide to use them. If he were to hit the portal, he would have until December. Unless he is offered seven figures to leave Illinois or high six figures to go to a National Championship contender, it really doesn’t make sense to leave Champaign.

Armchair Illini is a comprehensive site dedicated to covering University of Illinois Athletics owned and operated by Alex Kyi. Dante Pryor has been writing about College Football for years on Saturday Blitz and is now the Lead Football Author for Armchair Illini.