Cal has announced the signing of former Illinois wide receiver Brian Hightower, a transfer playmaker that comes to Berkeley after spending two years at Miami (2018-19) and the last three at Illinois. Hightower will have one year of eligibility remaining.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Los Angeles native was a consensus 4-star recruit coming out of high school in the Class of 2018. He chose Miami over interest from Nebraska, Alabama, Arizona, and Arizona State. Cal offered as well.

“Brian is a talented veteran wide receiver who came into his own last season and we are excited that he has decided to finish his collegiate career in our football program,” coach Justin Wilcox said in a statement.

After just 12 catches in 18 appearances over his first two seasons of college ball, Hightower left Miami for Champaign, Illinois. With the Illini, he produced 48 receptions, 661 yards, and five touchdowns in 24 appearances.

Hightower started seven of eight games for the Illini in 2020. He posted 11 catches for 209 yards and three touchdowns — tied for the most on the team. In 2021, he took a redshirt season, then posted his best year this past fall.

Hightower had his most productive collegiate season in 2022 with 37 receptions and 452 yards receiving along with two touchdown catches in 12 games for an Illinois team that reached the ReliaQuest Bowl. The Illini posted their best record since 2007.

Cal has now announced a total of 19 players for its 2023 class, a group that includes 10 transfers. Hightower joins tight ends Asher Alberding and JT Byrne, linebacker Sergio Allen, running backs Byron Cardwell and Justin Williams-Thomas, defensive backs Matthew Littlejohn, Kaylin Moore, and Nohl Williams, and punter Lachlan Wilson.