URBANA — Illinois freshman cornerback Marquez Beason was on the sideline of Thursday's practice with his right knee in a brace while he was on crutches.
Beason was injured in one-on-one drills on Tuesday, but head coach Lovie Smith had no update on Beason to return, but called the injury "significant."
“You guys saw him, right?” Illinois coach Lovie Smith said after Thursday’s practice. “He’s on crutches. That’s about it. You can tell he has a significant knee injury. That’s about where we are right now.
“There is no update. If you see a guy out on crutches and you saw the injury, it’s not looking good. When we have something definite to say, we will. Right now it’s just unfortunate. He was having a great training camp. Eventually we’ll get him back out there.”
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Beason, a freshman from Duncanville, Texas, has practiced primarily with the second string on defense during training camp while junior Nate Hobbs and sophomore Quan Martin got reps with the first team. A healthy Beason figures to be a fixture in the defensive rotation. He's listed at 5-foot-11, 185 pounds and was ranked No. 99 in the nation for the Class of 2019, according to 247Sports. He chose Illinois over offers from LSU, Texas A&M and other power programs.
He's made an impact early in camp, living up the the billing of being a Top-100 prospect, according to 247Sports. He was getting second-team reps behind starters Nate Hobbs and Quan Martin, but Beason was expected to make an early impact for the Illini at a position that lacked depth.
Freshman cornerback Devon Witherspoon practiced on Thursday in a limited capacity. He committed to Illinois just before training camp began and is a late addition to the group from Pensacola, Fla.