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Malik Elzy impressing the coaching staff.



Malik Elzy

Four-star freshman wide receiver Malik Elzy has impressed in his first two months on campus.

“I’m looking to start as a true freshman and be the guy everybody expected me to be.” In June, Simeon High School product Malik Elzy said those words at a NIL event. That let every Illini fan know this young man understands the pressure he’s under and is also embracing it. Elzy, a top-150 recruit, is the highest-rated recruit to sign with Illinois since 2019 (Isaiah Williams and Marquez Beason). Moreover, he’s the best receiver recruit since Arrelious Benn.

It is also what Elzy represents. He was the top Chicago Public League recruit and represented the Illini resetting the pipeline in Chicago.

Elzy has impressed his coaches in his short time on campus:

Veteran wide receiver Isaiah Williams was working out with Elzy, and head coach Bret Bielema asked Willams to give his assessment of Elzy. Bielema and the offensive staff were already excited about him, and Williams’ assessment confirmed what he believed.

“(Williams) looked and me and said, ‘Coach, he kind of took me by surprise,’” Bielema said at Big Ten Media Days earlier this week. “I said, ‘What do you mean?’ He said, ‘I didn’t know he was that good.’ If you get Isaiah to stutter, it was something. Many people have said that. I got a text from our quarterback, and they were like, ‘Oh, this is different.’”

Williams raves about Elzy:

The Chicago Public League star certainly looks the part. At 6-foot-2 and 204 pounds, Elzy has the size and physical traits that have created quite the buzz in Champaign. What has impressed Isaiah Williams is how polished he is for a freshman.

“But when it comes to just physical ability, as far as the receiver room, he’s probably one of the most physical receivers as a freshman that I’ve done seen. Also polished. That’s the thing. Usually, you will see bigger receivers like that, and you naturally are gonna think he’s just big and not that polished. He can run routes, catch, and do all that. He’s a unique talent coming in as a freshman.”

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.