The 90 Illini #18: Casey Washington
It really is amazing how much I've been wrong about Casey Washington.
I've referenced this before, but when I wrote my Looks Like University Of Illinois article for Casey (giving him only 1.5 Cruises), he found the article, made a screencap of the end of the article, and tweeted it with a little message for me. I just went and made a screenshot of it. If you're not familiar with Twitter, his comment is at the top, and then the image he's sharing is a screenshot of my LLUOI article (so the rest of the words are mine). This is what he tweeted on September 9, 2018:
He was then one of the few true freshmen to play in 2019 and not redshirt. Nobody had "Isaiah Williams redshirts but Casey Washington plays" on their bingo card.
So then follow his 90 Illini rankings after that. I moved him all the way up to #30 for 2020... and he played less, only had 10 catches, and transferred to Wake Forest after the season. For the 2021 90 Illini, he wasn't ranked at all (because we all thought he was at Wake Forest). Then, at the start of camp in August (when I was somewhere in the 30's for The 90 Illini), it's announced that he has returned to Illinois. So the season where Casey Washington catches the winning 2-point conversion at Penn State in the 9th overtime, his 90 Illini ranking was "NR".
I'm not going to doubt him again so I move him all the way up to 12th last season. And then... he's behind Brian Hightower for the majority of the season and only has 15 catches in the first 10 games. And then, in the final three games, he moves past Hightower and into the starting lineup, grabs 16 of Tommy DeVito's passes, and Hightower transfers to Cal.
So now, one more year. I have to get his ranking wrong. So I have him at number...
18. Casey Washington
Uniform number: 14
Year in school: Senior (2 years to play 1)
Height: 6'-1" -- Weight: 180 lbs.
Hometown: Round Rock, Texas
High School: Pflugerville HS
Five best offers: Kansas, UTSA, Tulane, South Alabama, Houston Baptist
Previous 90i rankings: #79 (2019), #30 (2020), NR (2021), #12 (2022)
Tom Cruise rating:
2022 statistics: Played in all 13 games, 31 catches for 306 yards.
I just covered all of this up above, I think. Wasn't a highly ranked recruit, played a lot as a true freshman, fell out of favor as a sophomore and transferred, came back before playing a single snap at Wake Forest, yadda yadda yadda, he's now a senior.
This will be interesting. The one-two punch at wide receiver appears to be Isaiah Williams and Pat Bryant. Isaiah gets all the short stuff and Bryant gets the medium-to-long stuff.
So where does that leave Casey Washington? I'll say this. He's either catching 87 passes and being the star of our offense or he's catching 7 passes while getting passed on the depth chart by Malik Elzy. He's either catching the winning touchdown on national TV against top-10 Penn State for a second time or he transfers back to Wake Forest in October. There's no in between here. All or nothing.