Top 10 most painful Illinois football transfer portal departures of all time

There isn't a long history of transfer portal departures from the Illinois football program, but there are some painful ones we should remember
Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl - Illinois v Louisiana Tech
Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl - Illinois v Louisiana Tech / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages
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3. Aaron Bailey

The mid-2010s were pretty awful for the Illinois football program. We hired Tim Beckman, which ended up being bad, but we also had a good player in Aaron Bailey come into the program.

Bailey was a highly-touted recruit coming out of Bolingbrook High School in Illinois. He was a four-star recruit who was the No. 149 player in the class of 2013. Illinois managed to land the kid over some other big-time programs that wanted him at quarterback.

At the time, Illinois had Nathan Scheelhaase finishing up his career. Bailey was supposed to be next in line to dominate at the quarterback position. As a freshman, he threw for four yards and a touchdown. In 2014, Bailey played a little more, but he had two quarterbacks in front of him in West Lunt and Reilly O’Toole. Bailey finished that season with 118 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.

After the 2014 campaign, Bailey decided to transfer out of the program. He ended up picking Northern Iowa as his landing spot.

Bailey shined with the Panthers. In 2015, Bailey had 32 total touchdowns and 2,990 yards in total offense for the program.

Looking back at what Illinois had at quarterback, especially in 2016 when Lunt got hurt, it would have been nice to have a Bailey at quarterback. He could have given the Illini a dynamic threat. This kid was a special athlete.