Williams will redshirt after missing season with knee injury

RANTOUL, Ill. -- Illinois defensive tackle Sirod Williams will miss the season with torn ACL in his right knee, coach Ron Zook said after practice Wednesday.

Williams, a projected starter, suffered the injury on a non-contact play during Saturday's practice. An MRI done Tuesday revealed the torn ligament, and the senior will undergo surgery and redshirt the season.

"I feel bad for him because he's such a great kid," Zook said. "He's been here for the whole time with us and was in our first recruiting class. A lot of them weren't ready to play as freshmen, but we had to play then and thank God we did because now we're going to have him back for another year."

The 6-foot, 292-pound Williams appeared in 12 games last season, recording six tackles (one for loss). He started three games at defensive end as a true freshman.

Sophomore Josh Brent and true freshmen Cory Liuget and Reggie Ellis will compete to fill Williams' spot on the line.

"That is the strength of our team and where we feel like we have the most guys ready to play," Zook said. "I think we'll be all right there."

Adam Rittenberg covers the Big Ten for ESPN.com. He can be reached at espnritt@gmail.com