CHAMPAIGN — Illinois football has managed to avoid the roster churn from a year ago with only a few transfers out of the program this offseason. That number grew Tuesday afternoon, though, when Cameron Watkins announced he would finish is career elsewhere.
"To all the fans, coaches and my teammates over the last (four) years, it has been a roller coaster ride for the ages," Watkins wrote in a note posted to Twitter. "I appreciate each and every one who has supported me through this journey; it has been great. But it is now time for me to start another chapter in my life as I will be moving on from the University of Illinois after graduation in May and will be grad transferring to another program come fall. Again, thank you for the unwavering support over the last (four) years and go Illini!!"
Watkins joins offensive linemen Zeke Martin and Adam Solomon, wide receiver Carmoni Green and walk-on quarterback Drake Davis as transfers out of the program this offseason. Watkins, however, is the lone starter from that group. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound cornerback played in 10 games and made seven starts this past season at both nickel back and cornerback. He finished the 2018 season with 38 tackles, three pass breakups and one tackle for loss. He had a career-high 10 tackles in Illinois' win against Kent State.
Watkins was one of the last few Tim Beckman recruits on the Illinois roster. He redshirted in 2015 as a true freshman and ultimately played in 31 games for the Illini with 16 starts. He leaves Champaign with 98 career tackles, 10 pass breakups, one forced fumble and one interception.