The 90 Illini #30: Casey Washington
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I should run some kind of contest. "Rank the top-8 Illini pass-catchers this season in order of number of catches". I submit that no one could get anywhere close. There are 12 wide receivers, three tight ends, and several tailbacks who will factor into the top-8, and putting them in order is basically impossible. I could be convinced that someone like Casey Washington could have 61 catches or 6.
30. Casey Washington
Uniform number: 8
Year in school: Sophomore (4 years to play 3; with the Covid rule, technically 5 to play 4)
Height: 6'-2" -- Weight: 190 lbs.
Hometown: Round Rock, Texas
High School: Pflugerville HS
Five best offers: Kansas, Tulane, UTSA, South Alabama, Houston Baptist
Tom Cruise rating:
2019 statistics: Played in 10 games, starting five. 11 catches for 132 yards as a true freshman.
I'm hoping that's my worst Tom Cruise rating ever. I gave him 1.5 Cruises, and he called me out on it, and then he went and grabbed 11 catches as a true freshman (including a really important diving catch against Wisconsin). From the first practice I watched at training camp, I knew that my eval was bad. His best trait: his hands. A receiver with snatchy hands can be so valuable.
It appeared that he was headed for the same "play in a few games here and there but keep it under four so he can redshirt" plan as the rest of the class. He played against Akron and UConn but then sat for the next three games. But then he was back in against Michigan (his first catch) and played in every game after that. His biggest game: 4 catches for 55 yards against Northwestern.
As mentioned at the top, it's so hard to say. For the Northwestern game there were only three healthy receivers: Washington, Donny Navarro, and Caleb Reams. So four-wide sets in that game included TE Daniel Barker.
Now that everyone is healthy again, and now that there are several transfers on board, and now that the freshmen are here, it's a completely different scenario. With lots of passes headed towards the three tight ends, there will maybe be five receivers in the regular pass-catching rotation. Try to pick those five from these 12 names:
Hard to do. Especially given that the 5th guy you list might only have six catches on the season. Say your choices are Bhebhe-Navarro-Washington-Hightower-Cumby. Do you really think Kyron Cumby will only have six catches on the season?
Anyway, however it's sliced, I think Washington is in the rotation. Maybe 4th in receptions on the team. And here's hoping I'm underestimating him again.