The staff of Writing Illini takes a look into the future of Illinois Fighting Illini football as they give their thoughts and opinions on the possible quarterback competition in 2014. They also answer the question whether or not Wes Lunt should be the starter in 2014.
Ricky: There is no doubt that there should be an open quarterback competition in 2014, but Wes Lunt will most likely be the leader heading into that competition. In my mind, Lunt will be the starter next season and, because of that, I feel sorry for Aaron Bailey. I feel sorry for Bailey because I feel like he will be the one to be screwed by the Lunt transfer.
Before Lunt’s transfer, I thought Bailey would earn the starting role in 2014, but now I feel like Lunt will be the starter for the next three seasons (starting in 2014). Yes, in reality, Lunt might be the better choice for Cubit’s system, but I really have high hopes for Bailey.
Part of me thinks that with a little maturing that Aaron Bailey can be the next Juice Williams for Illinois. This is because he can both throw and run with the football effectively.
Austin: Wes Lunt, the newest Illini, announced this week that he was transferring to Illinois, making him eligible to play beginning in 2014. Illinois now has three, but mainly two, realistic options at quarterback for the 2014 season in Lunt, Aaron Bailey, and Reilly O’Toole. In my opinion, the best option for Illinois, unless Bailey comes out and just amazes next offseason, is to have Wes Lunt under center for 2014. O’Toole is not really a great option, as he has shown that his ability simply is not as good as the other two options, and his ceiling is much lower that that of Lunt and Bailey.
Ideally, Bailey, with as athletic as he is, could shift to wide receiver or the Illini could drizzle in some sort of wildcat package, adding a new level to their game. We all know it will come down to competition, so Lunt will have to prove he deserves to be under center, but with Scheelhaase leaving after this season and a limited number of options in other offensive phases of our game in 2014, Bailey could be a huge asset if he is able to make the transition to receiver, just as Miles Osei could be a very valuable piece this season.
Ryan: Wes Lunt should start for Illinois in 2014 if he outperforms Reilly O’Toole and Aaron Bailey in an open competition. In no way should anything be handed to him, and I truly don’t believe that’s the way Tim Beckman operates his program. This competition is going to make the team better because all three players are going to have to bring their A Game if they want to emerge as the starting QB.
That said, O’Toole has had his opportunities to seize the starting role, and he wasn’t lights out during those performances. Unless something drastically changes in his game I doubt he is going to get the reigns handed to him at the end of next year’s three way competition. Aaron Bailey is the giant unknown for me because I have only seen him play one time, and the offense Bolingbrook ran limited his pass attempts. Obviously, he is highly talented based on his 4-star recruiting ranking on both scout.com and rivals.com. So, it’s safe to say that the open competition for the QBs heading into 2014 is going to be one of the more intriguing positional battles in quite some time.
What do you think, Illini Nation? Should Wes Lunt be the starter for Illinois in 2014?
The Writing Illini staff includes lead editor Ricky Widmer along with staff writers, Austin Jabs and Ryan Kraemer.
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