VegasInsider.com
VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
More
Betting Tools

 
Illini won't name QB, but eyes on Lunt

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Illinois coach Tim Beckman is in no hurry to name a starting quarterback, insisting that the competition to succeed Nathan Scheelhaase is wide open.

Advertisement
But when the Illini wrap up spring football with the Orange and Blue game Saturday, a lot of eyes will be on No. 12, the quarterback many assume will emerge as the starter. At 6-foot-5, Wes Lunt looks the part. He has the arm and pedigree - one not seen at Illinois in a while - to match.

And Beckman said he has something else - leadership and what might loosely define as work ethic.

Lunt sat out under NCAA rules last season after transferring from Oklahoma State, a season in which Scheelhaase finished up his career as an Illini favorite. For most, Lunt was out of sight. But working late on week nights, the coaching staff saw plenty of him.

''You'd be watching film and come out you'd see Wes Lunt underneath the lights running extra sprints to try to get his body better,'' Beckman said.

Lunt is an Illinois kid. He grew up in Rochester, just east of Springfield and a little more than an hour from the Illinois campus. In high school he led Rochester to back-to-back state titles, big games played in Memorial Stadium, Illinois' home field.

But the kid who says he grew up an Illinois fan was lured south by a shot at something new, different.

''I definitely looked at Illinois,'' he said. ''But once you have different schools recruit you that you've never heard of ... I went out and visited, fell in love.''

With the people, with the facilities financed by oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens - ''unbelievable,'' he calls them - and with the offense, he said. While Lunt was a high school senior, the Cowboys were routinely scoring 40, 50, even 60 points a game.

The next fall he became the first freshman to start a season opener for Oklahoma State since at least 1950. But a pair of injuries limited his season to six games, and by the time he was healthy, he'd lost his job. Lunt looked to move on, finally deciding to head home.

He has skills Illinois hasn't had in more than a decade. Scheelhaase relied on his feet first and his predecessor, Juice Williams, was inconsistent as a passer and valued almost as much for his mobility as his arm. The last big passing quarterback at Illinois was Kurt Kittner, whose last season was 2001.

Lunt is strong-armed and accurate, offensive coordinator Bill Cubit said.

That means he can throw the ball across the width of the field with power. And receivers sometimes accustomed to softer throws are now seeing something else.

''All of the sudden that ball is on a line now,'' Cubit said. ''It's a big adjustment for our wideouts, some of our wideouts, that that ball is coming through there (fast).''

Mikey Dudek is one of those receivers. An early enrollee, the 5-11, 180-pound slot receiver will be a freshman this fall.

''There was an out route I caught in the scrimmage last Friday, and he threw it right over the defender - and I don't know how he did it,'' Dudek said.

Cubit's offense, which was one of the Big Ten's more productive last season, is surprisingly complex, Lunt said. But he loves it.

''It's all on the quarterback. Every quarterback wants to have the ball in his hands and make the play and make the right checks and everything,'' he said. ''I've learned as much football in the past year as I've learned in my entire life.''

All that does not mean that Beckman and Cubit have settled on the redshirt sophomore.

Senior Reilly O'Toole has played part or all of 23 games at Illinois, and points out that he's probably more familiar with Cubit's offense than anyone at this point. And sophomore Aaron Bailey, a four-star recruit, saw action in nine games last fall.

The decision, Beckman said, will come sometime after spring practice ends.

---

Follow David Mercer on Twitter: https://twitter.com/davidmercerap

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
News: 2017 Heisman Odds
Defense to begin in trial of PSU ex-pres.
Saban rips media, NCAA's new rules
QB competitions abound this spring
Coach sues Kiffin over promised job
N-Dakota has game set at Iowa St.
Cole impresses at Missouri St. pro day
Long takes SDSU to Little Italy
Tar Heels QB Trubisky draws crowd
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAAFB College Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
VegasInsider.com Gold Membership
2016 CFB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Scott Rickenbach + 2051
Joe Williams + 1909
Pat Hawkins + 1752
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Greg Smith + 400
Joe Nelson + 385
Scott Rickenbach + 380
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Scott Pritchard 60 %
Scott Rickenbach 59 %
Kyle Hunter 57 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Micah Roberts + 1239
Scott Rickenbach + 1082
Kyle Hunter + 1023
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Micah Roberts + 2485
Kyle Hunter + 2166
NeiltheGreek + 2076
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Vince Akins + 805
Scott Rickenbach + 657
Pat Hawkins + 595
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership