Illinois football is heading into the 2022 campaign with some depth at the quarterback position.
The 2021 campaign wasn’t the smoothest of runs for Illini signal callers. Brandon Peters and Artur Sitkowski were the two quarterbacks leading the way, but they only combined for 1,874 yards, 13 touchdowns, and six interceptions.
I would imagine those numbers are far below the college football average, but honestly, Illinois has been pretty bad when it comes to the quarterback position over the last decade.
Going back to the past 10 seasons of Illinois football, the Illini quarterback numbers are shockingly bad. In that 10-year span, Illinois averaged 2,333 yards, 14.8 touchdowns, and 10.9 interceptions per season. They only competed an average of 56% of their passes as well.
Bret Bielema has done a good job building the quarterback room for the Illinois football program.
Through roughly 18 months of being on the job, Bret Bielema has helped the Illini quarterback situation tremendously.
The old coaching regime couldn’t figure out the right formula for putting together a competitive quarterback group, but Bielema has been able to find a nice mix of transfers and young guys to fill out the roster.
Injuries at Syracuse forced DeVito out of the starting job, but he has a chance to redeem himself with a different shade of orange at Illinois. The fact his backup, Sitkowski, is an experienced veteran who has time in the Bielema system, gives me a ton of confidence in what we have at quarterback entering the season.
One of the biggest issues I had with the previous regime was their view of the program. I felt like that regime took more of a micro view of the team rather than looking at the big picture. There was zero development of younger quarterbacks, and that hurt the future of the Illini.
Bielema is doing a good job, so far, of juggling both micro and macro. The addition of DeVito will help us win games this year, but there is a bigger picture in mind with the addition of a quarterback like Donovan Leary. This was a great pickup from the class of 2022. I think Leary has an extremely bright future with this program.
Illinois Football Quarterback Prediction
DeVito is going to lead the way at quarterback for Illinois. As long as he is healthy, he should be the starter for the entire season. Sitkowski provides a solid backup option, though. They are the best one-two punch at quarterback Illinois has had probably since Wes Lunt and Reilly O’Toole.
A few years back, DeVito was looked at as a Heisman Trophy dark horse. That probably isn’t him anymore, but I believe he can still fling the pigskin around pretty well. What he showed in the spring game was exciting.
DeVito’s best season at Syracuse saw him throwing for 2,360 yards, 19 touchdowns, and five interceptions. I think it is realistic to expect those numbers in 2022. So, those are the numbers I am predicting for him this year. Give me those numbers, and Illinois will win at least seven games for the first time since 2011.