Cleveland QB Looking For Illinois Offer

The Fighting Illini football team is on a never-ending quest for top quarterbacks to run its sophisticated pro-style offense. Among those under consideration for this year's scholarship is Eric Williams, a recent transfer from Portland, Oregon, to Cleveland St. Ignatius. He visited the UI campus recently.

Eric Williams has excellent bloodlines. His father is Larry Williams, former Notre Dame and NFL player. His mother was an All-American tennis star at Notre Dame. Larry is the athletic director at the University of Portland.

"He's been there seven years now, so I lived there during that time," the high school junior states.

Dad is still out in Portland. Williams explains why he and his mom moved to Cleveland.

"My parents decided to move me to St. Ignatius because it would give me more opportunities academically and athletically. My dad just thought Ignatius would offer the most. He had some connections here and was able to get me in."

Williams had a tremendous junior season at Portland Jesuit, a 6-A program. He moved after the first semester, and he appears to be adjusting readily to his new surroundings.

"It's going really well actually. The school is very welcoming. They took me under their wing. It's a very good place."

The football program at St. Ignatius is outstanding.

"From what I understand, it's pretty prestigious. The coaches put out quarterbacks pretty well here. They always have good teams here. I guess last year was the first year they didn't make the playoffs in 20 some years.

"The football team is pretty solid. They're really welcoming, and I'm glad to be here."

Williams attended a Junior Day at Illinois early April, and he came away impressed.

"It was a lot of fun. I really had a good time. I learned a lot about the campus. The program is pretty solid all around. Illinois is definitely a good place."

The Illini have not yet offered him a scholarship, but quarterback coach Jeff Brohm plans to visit his high school during the spring evaluation period.

"I hear the Illini coaches are planning on visiting my school in May. I'm planning on going to their summer camp too."

Williams is highly impressed both with Brohm and offensive coordinator Paul Petrino.

"They're something special. They've got something going on there. It's amazing. From what I can tell, their preparation and development of quarterbacks is spectacular really.

"The way they've developed Nathan Scheelhaase is pretty cool. He's an athletic guy, but the way he's developed is something else. They've proved they can develop quarterbacks with him."

The 6'-3", 190 pounder describes his quarterback skills.

"I feel like I have a strong arm. I can put the ball in tight spots. I also like to rely on my feet to get me out of sticky situations. I guess you could say I'm a dual threat quarterback, but I don't know if that exactly defines my play. I'm looking to develop my whole game at St. Ignatius as they develop quarterbacks pretty well."

Of course, quarterbacks can always improve their game. Williams says there are several things he is emphasizing at this time.

"My balance mostly, when dropping back. I want to improve the mental part also. Improving my skills such as reading coverages."

Besides Illinois, Williams is communicating with several other schools.

"I'm looking a little bit at Notre Dame and Stanford. Colorado is interested in me as well. Yale and Harvard also. I currently don't have any offers."

Stanford already has a quarterback commitment in Philadelphian Skyler Mornhinweg. Notre Dame is checking out several top qbs including Gunner Kiel. With his parents from Notre Dame, does he like the idea of following in their footsteps?

"In a way, yes. But there's also part of me that wants to look for what's best for me. Whether that be at Notre Dame, or whether that be at a school that offers something that will be different."

Is it difficult living up to the successes of his parents?

"Not really. They keep the pressure off of me. Of course, I want to live up to what they do, but they don't put any pressure on me at all. They just look out for what's best for me, however far my football talent can take me I guess."

Williams has the grades and intelligence to go anywhere in the country even if he didn't play football. Obviously, school is important to him.

"Academics come first and foremost. Always. And then quarterback coaching and the ability to develop quarterbacks and teach them the game so they can perform at their best level."

Williams is debating between two possible majors.

"I'm considering a couple options. I like Political Science, but I'm also intrigued by Medicine. They're both kind of pulling at me right now, and I can't decide yet."

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