M.J. Rivers II was in the middle of the battle for Illinois’ starting quarterback job entering the 2019 season. Now, it sounds like he will no longer be involved in that race.
Rivers announced that he is leaving the program for what he describes as “personal circumstances.” The decision comes a few weeks after the end of the spring football season.
In 2018, as a freshman, he started three games for Illinois, and appeared in seven overall. On the season, he completed 55.4-percent of his throws for 547 yards, three touchdowns, and three interceptions.
It is unclear where M.J. Rivers, a native of Frisco, Texas, will continue his college career.
His Twitter announcement:
Psalm 119:105 all in God’s plan🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/EzDrPjdGHu
— Mj Rivers (@King_2_Be) May 5, 2019
Last month, Rivers drew solid reviews from offensive coordinator Rod Smith, though he also raised some academic concerns. From 247Sports:
“(Rivers) had some really good, sharp practices,” Smith said last month. “Then he had some average practices, like Matt did. They were both the same. But I thought M.J. took some steps forward as well. Made some good throws this year, made some good decisions this spring. Excited about him. He’s got to make sure he takes care of what he needs to take care of off the field as well in the classroom and all that type stuff. But he had a good spring.”
The decision also comes a few days after news that Penn State transfer Tommy Stevens will be visiting Illinois with one of his three chosen official visits. He is also checking out Miami (OH) and Mississippi State. It is unclear if he will consider others.
Rivers’ departure leaves Illinois with two scholarship QBs on the roster, neither of whom has started a college game: Matt Robinson and Coran Taylor.