On Monday, it was announced that former Oklahoma State quarterback Wes Lunt was transferring to the Illinois Fighting Illini. Illinois was just one of two major players in the race for Lunt along with the Louisville Cardinals.
Originally, Illinois and Louisville were just two of five teams in Lunt’s top five schools. The other three schools were Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Southern Miss. Although, OSU’s head coach Mike Gundy placed restrictions on Lunt’s transfer that stated he could not transfer to Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Southern Miss, or any schools in the Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC.
These restrictions placed a toll on Lunt’s transfer and gave Illinois and Louisville the leverage to be the two main contenders. Just before Lunt decided to transfer to Illinois, Gundy lifted the restrictions, but it was too late.
With those facts coming to the surface, should Illinois be thanking Mike Gundy and for Wes Lunt?
The answer to that question is YES.
Its true that Lunt grew up in Rochester, Illinois and he wanted to play closer to home, but Illinois would have finished second if there were no restrictions placed on Lunt.
Without restrictions, I feel as if Wes Lunt would have decided to transfer to Southern Miss.
The main reason why is because their head coach is Oklahoma State’s former offensive coordinator, Todd Monken.
Lunt worked closely with Monken last season at OSU and would have most likely decided to continue their relationship at Southern Miss. Only Wes Lunt knows the exact reason why he chose Illinois, but I think that it would have come down to close to home v.s. his relationship with Monken if there were no restrictions placed.
However, because of his restrictions, this “battle” was never formed.
According to ESPN, Lunt told an Illinois radio station:
“It (the restrictions) was frustrating. I understand the Big 12. That’s obvious. The others, it was a little frustrating, but that’s part of it and I understand it. It’s all good.”
So, in the end, the restrictions set by Mike Gundy helped Illinois gain a quality quarterback in Wes Lunt. This is why the Illinois Fighting Illini should be thanking Oklahoma State and Tim Beckman should be thanking Mike Gundy personally for possibly saving his career in Champaign.
Illinois knew that they were the “favorite” to land Lunt, but that might have been different if OSU’s restrictions were never placed.
Southern Miss was the only team that could have truly rivaled Illinois for Wes Lunt. However, OSU took Southern Miss out of the picture and, because of that, I (as an Illini fan) personally want to thank Oklahoma State and Mike Gundy for Wes Lunt.
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