CARBONDALE — Centralia quarterback Javon Williams Jr. verbally committed to the SIU football program Monday night.
The 6-foot-2, 239-pound senior led the Orphans to the IHSA playoffs and a 7-3 record. Centralia tied Belleville Althoff and Marion atop the South Seven Conference at 4-1. Williams is the second quarterback to commit to the Salukis in the 2018 class, joining 6-2, 205-pound Austin Reed of St. Augustine (Florida) High School.
Reed has thrown for more than 2,400 yards and 30 touchdowns for the 12-0 Yellow Jackets, who reached the Class 6A state semifinals. St. Augustine plays at Seffner Armwood Friday for a shot at the state championship in Orlando.
The Salukis currently have four quarterbacks on the roster for 2018, junior Sam Straub, junior Matt DeSomer if he stays on offense, sophomore Tanner Hearn and redshirt freshman Brandon George. DeSomer, who came to SIU as a quarterback but was moved to wide receiver, safety and special teams, started his first game at quarterback at Western Illinois.
Straub led SIU to four wins before breaking a bone in his right hand at South Dakota Oct. 28.
Williams can sign with SIU beginning Dec. 20, the first day of the early signing period for football. The NCAA passed an early signing period for football for the first time this year.
— Todd Hefferman