2. Quarterback upgrade
The Illinois quarterback situation has been somewhat of a mess for much of the past decade. Since the Wes Lunt era, I can’t point to a quarterback and say I have had confidence in their abilities behind center.
I think that is changing this season, though. Bret Bielema went into the transfer portal and pulled out one of the best transfer quarterbacks in the nation in Tommy DeVito. This was a much-needed transfer get for the Orange and Blue.
Illinois’ history of bad quarterback play has to end with DeVito. He needs to be our savior of sorts. Did you know that Illini quarterbacks haven’t had a combined completion percentage of 56% since 2014? That is correct. The best completion rate for Illinois quarterbacks in a season since 2014 was 55% in 2015.
But I actually think we have a solid quarterback behind center for 2022. DeVito was hurt toward the end of his run with Syracuse, but during the one season he was a starter, he threw for 2,360 yards, 19 touchdowns, and five interceptions. He had a 63.2% completion rate that year.
I believe DeVito could hit those numbers this season. If he did throw for 2,360 yards, that would be the most passing yards by an Illinois quarterback since 2015. If DeVito threw for 19 touchdowns, that would tie the combined total of Illinois quarterbacks in 2019.
The key to winning football games and consistently being bowl eligible is having a good quarterback. Illinois finally has that with DeVito.