URBANA — University of Illinois freshman Marquez Beason was carted off the field on Tuesday at the Illini's football training camp after suffering a knee injury. The extent of the injury is not clear.
Beason, a prized four-star recruit from Duncanville, Texas, returned to the sidelines with his right knee in a brace and was seen using crutches.
"He didn't finish practice," Illinois coach Lovie Smith said. "He went down with a knee injury and didn't finish practice, so that's concerning. We'll kind of see how it goes."
A defensive back, Beason was injured in one-on-one drills against wide receivers and was carted to the medical tent for further evaluation before returning to the sidelines. 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 at a position that lacks depth.
Smith said the injury happened on a routine play.
"We play football," Smith said. "Injuries happen. You don't want them to happen, but they do. All of America, guys are getting hurt."
The cornerback position was thin prior to Beason exiting camp, and should Beason miss significant time, the Illini could look to cornerback Nick Walker for more playing time. Smith also is open to looking all over the roster.
"We need depth," Smith said. "You guys know the numbers. We don't have a whole lot of depth. Of course, with Marquez not being able to practice, we'll kind of keep searching.
"Our numbers are low there. Sometimes you have to look at who plays corner, athletic guys on our football team. We'll continue to need guys. You start looking elsewhere for guys also on our roster."
Beason, listed at 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, 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.