Judson talks offense, career aspirations

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Illini Will Judson Erica Magda

By Daniel Johnson

After catching five passes for 177 yards against Missouri, Will Judson seems to have put himself on notice. The senior from Riversdale, Ga., transferred to Illinois after attending Florida A&M; for one season. The senior made the most of his first career start against the Tigers. The Daily Illini spoke with Judson at practice on Tuesday about his career game, scoreboard-watching and his career aspirations after school.

Daily Illini: What does it feel like to play as well as you did in your first career start?

Will Judson: Going into the game, I was nervous, but I knew if I focused and just went out there and did my job, everything would take care of itself … It meant a lot because I’ve worked hard all these years just to crack the lineup. I’ve never even cracked 100 yards (receiving in one game) in high school.

DI: Did you even realize until you were off the field that you had put up almost 180 yards?

WJ: Yeah, before my last catch, I happened to be looking at the scoreboard on the play and I saw it was 159 yards. I was like, “Wow,” and then I caught that last ball. My dad ended up telling me later I had 177 yards. I was amazed by that.

DI: I’m sure you saw by now that Juice Williams was named co-Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week. Has he thanked you at all yet for helping him with that?

WJ: Uh, no, nothing like that. We hadn’t talked about that because we’d rather take the win. But Juice definitely did a great job.

DI: When you’re looking at things in the offensive scheme of things, is there that much difference from last year as opposed to this year?

WJ: Well, I played inside last year and now I’m moved out to the outside. The difference is, we have to have speedy guys out on the outside, myself and Chris Duvalt, along with Fred Sykes. Not having those guys took a little bit of the pressure off of opposing defenses last year; now they can’t work on Rejus (Benn) as much. That’s the difference between this and last year; we didn’t have Chris Duvalt last year.

DI: Are the receivers that much faster this year?

WJ: Oh, yeah, I think we have a lot more speed this year. We’ve got myself, A.J. Jenkins, Cordale Scott, Chris Duvalt and of course Rejus; he’s a speedy guy also. We’ve got a lot more speed on the edges, which is a good thing.

DI: You’ve said in the past you’ve wanted to be an NFL scout. Is that still something that you have in mind?

WJ: Well, the number one goal, of course, is to make it to the NFL. If that doesn’t happen, I want to get into player personnel.

DI: How would you evaluate yourself as a player going into the NFL Draft?

WJ: I would say, “Lacks ideal size and the bulk for the next level, but is an excellent speedy threat down the field. Needs to work on focusing and catching the ball in his hands more and blocking. But would be the ideal, prototypical receiver in the slot.”

DI: What receivers in the NFL would you compare yourself to?

WJ: I would say, I most remind myself of Roscoe Parrish of the Buffalo Bills and Santana Moss (of the Washington Redskins).