Robinson sees 'great opportunity' at Illinois

Robinson sees 'great opportunity' at Illinois

CHAMPAIGN — The Illinois football roster currently has one quarterback listed: sophomore-to-be Cam Thomas.

But help is definitely on the way. Texan M.J. Rivers signed in December. And on Sunday, Matt Robinson from San Juan Capistrano (Calif.) JSerra Catholic agreed to join Lovie Smith's team.

Why Illinois?

"It was the opportunity to play in the Big Ten and I loved the school, the coaching staff and everything about it," Robinson said. "It just felt like home."

Robinson visited campus this weekend. He met with head coach Lovie Smith, new offensive coordinator Rod Smith, other coaches and some of his future teammates.

The early February weather didn't bother the Californian.

"It wasn't a problem at all," Robinson said. "I don't mind the cold weather."

Robinson is rated a three-star prospect by Rivals.com. As a senior, he threw for almost 3,000 yards.

"It was by far my best year," Robinson said. "I felt a lot better. The hard work paid off."

His team finished 7-4 playing in one of the top conferences in the country. They lost in the first round of the playoffs to power Long Beach Poly.

He picked Illinois over offers from Florida International, Coastal Carolina, Montana and Northern Arizona.

The chance to play early is appealing to Robinson. Thomas will be the only quarterback with college experience.

"I saw a great opportunity there," Robinson said. "I just want to go in there and compete."

The 6-1, 180-pounder is one of two quarterbacks who will sign with the Illini on Wednesday. Peoria's Coran Taylor is having a morning ceremony at the high school.

Illinois used three starting quarterbacks in 2017. The Illini ended with a 2-10 record and the first 0-9 Big Ten finish in school history.

Part-time starters Chayce Crouch and Jeff George Jr. left the program after the finale, even though they both had remaining eligibility. Crouch retired from the sport and will go to work soon for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

George Jr. is transferring to a yet-unnamed school. He will have two years of eligibility at his next stop.

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Moonpie wrote on February 06, 2018 at 10:02 am

This tiny quarterback sees Illinois as an opportunity because it's the Big Ten team awful enough for even a guy only recruited by Norhern Arizona and a few other Little Sisters of the Poor.

A Lovie guy!

But I suppose Gazoo sportywriters will cast him as the second coming of Joe Montana.

jjohnson wrote on February 06, 2018 at 1:02 pm

Two words for the always morally and mentally superior Moonpie: "Doug Flutie."