Illinois has benefited tremendously from incoming transfers this offseason, but the Illini are also losing one of their top defensive backs prior to the start of spring football.

Watkins announced via Twitter on Tuesday that he would be transferring out of the program. He will be moving on as a graduate student, meaning he’ll be eligible to play in the 2019 season regardless of where he goes.

“I will be moving on from the University of Illinois after graduation in May and will be grad transferring to another program come fall,” Watkins wrote. “Again thank you for the unwavering support over the last 4 years and go Illini!”

Watkins has been an important piece in the Illinois defensive over the last three seasons, making 16 starts and appearing in 31 total contests. In 2018, Watkins played in 10 games while earning seven starts. He totaled 38 stops, three pass break-ups and one tackle for loss.

He did not play in Illinois 55-31 win over Minnesota or the season finale against Northwestern, a 24-16 loss.

In three seasons with Illinois, Watkins totaled 98 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and an interception. He also registered nine pass break-ups and forced a fumble.

Watkins did not mention a potential landing spot in his Twitter post.