Eric Williams is determined to prove himself. Moving from Portland Jesuit to Cleveland St. Ignatius this past winter, he needs to demonstrate his skills to Midwest recruiters unfamiliar with him. Making his second visit to Illinois, Williams worked out at Tuesday's summer camp. He was pleased with the results.
"It went very well, after I got warmed up and comfortable. I like these coaches a lot. They know how to develop quarterbacks and make them the best they can be. I can definitely see that here."
He is referring specifically to quarterback coach Jeff Brohm and offensive coordinator Paul Petrino. Even quarterbacks with scholarship offers from the Illini often choose to work out with their possible future coaches, with good reason according to Williams.
"Coach Brohm really knows what he's talking about. He knows how to teach it too, which is an important part. I definitely feel comfortable learning from him and developing under his wing. Coach Petrino is kind of the comedic side of it. I like him a lot."
Williams learned a number of things on the day, singling out one technique in particular.
"I learned about staying compact with my upper body and not extending too much. That's when the accuracy doesn't follow. Staying compact and following through with the throw is probably the biggest thing in order to stay accurate."
Drills demonstrated Williams's prowess throwing on the run.
"I'd like to be more accurate in the pocket, but I'm really comfortable throwing on the run. I can adjust better in certain situations. I do feel better on the run."
Did the trip pay off with a scholarship offer?
"They really liked me. I have to see in the next couple weeks if they're gonna offer or not. I guess they have an in-state guy they're pursuing. If that doesn't come through, they'll give me a shot."
Illinois wasn't the first camp for the 6'-2.5", 190 pounder, and it won't be his last.
"I've been all over the place this past week. I went to Purdue and Northwestern a couple days ago. I'm also gonna make a couple more camps later in the summer like Harvard and Virginia, and LSU maybe."
Williams intends to spend most of the summer working with his high school team.
"My team St. Ignatius is working out together this summer. We have workouts every day. I want to get out there with the receivers and get comfortable with them since I'm new to the school. That's my long-term goal for the summer.
"We have at least ten returning starters on defense, so defense is gonna be really strong. And then offense, I'm kind of new to the whole schemes and everything. Hopefully it turns out good. I'm learning now. We look pretty strong athletically and mentally."
St. Ignatius is always a powerhouse in high school football circles. Among the new opportunities available to Williams is quarterback development.
"There's a difference in the mindset of the game. Ignatius is really more developing the mind of the quarterback, seeing where defenses play and adjusting to that. That's the biggest difference."