College/Prep Sports Reporter

Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).

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QB Matt Robinson looks to pitch the ball near LB Marc Mondesir during the University of Illinois Spring football game at Memorial Stadium in Champaign on Saturday, April 13, 2019.

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Before the start of Illinois football's training camp on Aug. 2 in Champaign, beat writer SCOTT RICHEY is counting down the Top 50 most important Illini heading into the 2019 season:

No. 20: Matt Robinson

Vitals: 6-1, 185, R-Fr., QB

Hometown: San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

High school: J Serra Catholic

Looking back at 2018: Illinois made full use of the new redshirt rule last year in getting Robinson into three games but also preserving a second crack at a freshman season for the California native. Robinson appeared in three games in a reserve role and completed 3 of 6 passes for 11 yards. He also rushed eight times for 24 yards.

Looking ahead to 2019: Robinson is the only quarterback on the Illinois roster to have taken any snaps in offensive coordinator Rod Smith’s offense. That alone gives him an advantage heading into training camp, but he also started taking more of what could be considered first-team reps during spring practices when he was splitting time with the now-transferred M.J. Rivers II. How big of an advantage that is will be determined during camp when he goes up against Isaiah Williams and Brandon Peters.

Last year’s ranking: No. 30