Illinois Football: Top 5 Illini quarterbacks of the 2010s

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LINCOLN, NE – NOVEMBER 10: Quarterback AJ Bush Jr. #1 of the Illinois Fighting Illini runs against the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the second half at Memorial Stadium on November 10, 2018 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)

There have been some talented quarterbacks to put on an Illinois football uniform in the 2010s.

In the 2010s, the Illini didn’t have the most talented quarterbacks wearing Orange and Blue, though. The quarterback play was inconsistent. After the first couple of years into the 2010s, Illinois hit a rough patch at quarterback. Despite the rough patch, the Illini still managed to have some solid leaders behind center.

Here are the top five quarterbacks of the 2010s for the Illinois football team.

5. AJ Bush

The No. 5 quarterback on this list for the 2010s is AJ Bush. Bush started his career at Nebraska, transferred to Virginia Tech, and then landed with the Illini. He spent one year in an Illinois jersey.

Bush came over as a graduate transfer from the Hokies. When he transferred to the Illini back in 2018, it answered the question of who was going to be the starting quarterback. His playstyle fit right in with offensive coordinator Rod Smith’s system.

In his lone year with the Illini, Bush wasn’t great through the air but had a dangerous ground attack. He threw for 1,413 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. Bush made his most significant impact on the ground, rushing for 733 yards, 8 touchdowns, and a 5.3 yards per carry average.

Bush made Illinois’ rushing attack lethal, and many teams struggled to stop it. His running ability and IQ were arguably his best attributes. Health wasn’t a problem for Bush as he was able to play 10 out of 12 games. While he wasn’t able to lead Illinois to a bowl game, Bush was able to bring joy to some fans with his exciting plays.

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