The 90 Illini #28: Marquez Beason
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I'm so tired of talking about injuries in these posts. I just set up a bunch of posts (filled out the information below - height, weight, offers, 2019 statistics) and I'm so tired of typing "missed X games with an injury last season". This is going to be a nine-game season - can we just have an out-of-nowhere crazy healthy season this year? Please?
Also, I guess I never realized how rough the Minnesota game was on the injury front. Trevon Sidney - knee injury out for the season. Delano Ware - broken wrist out for five weeks. Brandon Peters - concussion, missed the Michigan game (that Minnesota defender totally surfed on his back until he landed on his head, too). Dalevon Campbell - can't remember what the injury was but he was out the rest of the year after Minnesota.
It wasn't just that game though. Our first consensus top-100 recruit since 2009? Knee injury at camp, missed the entire season.
28. Marquez Beason
Uniform number: 3
Year in school: Redshirt Freshman (4 years to play 4; with the Covid rule, technically 5 to play 5)
Height: 5'-11" -- Weight: 195 lbs.
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
High School: Duncanville HS
Five best offers: Ohio State, Oklahoma, USC, LSU, Georgia
Tom Cruise rating:
2019 statistics: Missed the season with a knee injury suffered in training camp.
It's still so crazy that he's not at LSU. His Crystal Ball still says 73% LSU. Everyone thought he was going there. And he came to Champaign.
As I referenced above, it was ten years between consensus top-100 recruits. Terry Hawthorne was consensus #72 back in 2009. And then no top-100 recruits until Marquez Beason (number 99) in the 2019 class. (Luke Ford was ranked higher - #51 - but he was a transfer. I'm talking high school recruits that say no to LSU-USC-Texas-Oklahoma and pick Illinois.)
So now, not only did Beason miss an entire season, we have to play the "is the knee 100%? Maybe only 85%?" game. I hate that game. I never want to play. So I'm just going to hold on to "the fact that the season is starting eight weeks late actually helps here because it gives Beason and Mike Epstein two more months of recovery from their late August/early September knee injuries in 2019". If it's really 8 months before you can return to competition and 16 before you're 100% healthy, well, both are at 14 months.
If it wasn't for the knee injury, I'd say that Tony Adams was moved to safety to open up a spot for Marquez Beason. Because Beason is coming back from a long rehab (and missed most every practice last year, which is significant), I think it's going to be Devon Witherspoon starting at corner opposite Nate Hobbs. With Beason being the third guy.
And I do think the third guy will play a lot (just like Devon Witherspoon played a lot last season, especially in the final six games). On the Slack channel, I proposed the following (in attempting to describe "three starters at cornerback"). If there are 85 defensive plays...
25 snaps in nickel with all three on the field
20 snaps of Hobbs-Witherspoon
20 snaps of Hobbs-Beason
20 snaps of Beason-Witherspoon
It won't be that clean. Nate Hobbs might only take one defensive series off. But I can see a scenario of "three starters" there. It's just that we'll see a little bit more Witherspoon and Hobbs.
And.. it's early. Yes, a top-100 player should be ready to go year two, but there's still the knee here. With the Covid rule, Beason could technically be here until 2024. He should be long gone to the NFL before then, but still - there's a lot of time here for him to develop. This year he's probably learning behind Hobbs and then next year (and hopefully one or two more after that) he's our star cornerback.