This article is part of our Spring Practice Preview series.
College football spring practices are firing up, which means RotoWire will preview key job position battles at schools across the country. This article will feature the top job battle at each school and will provide a projected outlook for the group for the 2019 campaign.
Position of Interest: Quarterback
Well-traveled signal-caller A.J. Bush landed in Champaign prior to the 2018 season with designs on nabbing the starting job out of training camp. While he possessed the dual-threat ability coveted by the Illini coaching staff, the senior struggled with accuracy, completing just 53.9 percent of his passes en route to a 6:10 TD:INT ratio.
Coach Lovie Smith is looking for more accuracy under center next season, which could align M.J. Rivers, who completed 55.4 percent of his attempts last season, for the job after he inherited it last season following a Bush injury. Rivers possesses subpar capabilities as a runner, which may detract from his value in Smith's offense, but the sophomore holds the edge in terms of experience, tossing 101 passes during his freshman campaign.
Matt Robinson and Coran Taylor, who were both bested by Rivers for the backup job last season, will attempt to unseat Rivers this spring, but the full battle won't be determined until fall when true freshman Isaiah Williams steps on campus. While undersized at 5-foot-7, Williams passed on some big-time offers to sign with the Illini because Smith committed to giving him an opportunity at quarterback.
Williams completed just over 50 percent