Fighting Illini land No. 29 recruit Isaiah Williams for Class of '19

Illinois landed its second top-100 commitment in the 2019 class when ESPN Junior 300 athlete Isaiah Williams, the No. 29 overall prospect, chose the Fighting Illini on Friday.

Williams joins wide receiver Marquez Beason, who is ranked 74th, as the two ESPN Junior 300 commitments for Illinois.

If Williams and Beason sign with Illinois in December or February, they will be the two highest-ranked signees for Illinois since ESPN began its star rankings in 2009. The next closest would be Terry Hawthorne in that 2009 class, who was No. 87 overall.

Williams, a 5-foot-11, 165-pound athlete out of Trinity Catholic High School in St. Louis, was recruited as a quarterback by Illinois.

Williams' former head coach at Trinity Catholic, Cory Patterson, was recently hired by Illinois' Lovie Smith to coach tight ends, which has instantly paid off for Smith and the staff by landing Williams.

The hire is not subject to the NCAA's new IAWP rule, which prohibits a program from hiring high school coaches or any individual associated with a prospect for two years either before or after that prospect's enrollment. Because Patterson was hired as an on-field coach, and not in a recruiting or personnel role, Illinois is not precluded from recruiting Williams or any of Patterson's former players at Trinity Catholic.

The commitment gives Illinois a big recruiting win over some of the top programs in the country, including Alabama, Michigan, Oklahoma, Louisville and others. It also gives the staff an extra recruiter to go along with Beason to help secure more commitments in this class.