Beckman names Wes Lunt starting QB

Beckman names Wes Lunt starting QB

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Tim Beckman put an end to the quarterback competition Wednesday when he announced sophomore Wes Lunt will be the starting quarterback when the Illini open the season August 30 against Youngstown State. Lunt had been the frontrunner for the starting job since the end of spring practice, and today Beckman made his decision.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - 14 months after Wes Lunt transferred to Illinois, the sophomore quarterback is finally living his lifelong dream to be the starting quarterback for the Illini.

"It's something I wanted really bad," Lunt said.  "It's why I transferred here and I'm just really thankful and blessed for it to happen."

Illinois head coach Tim Beckman met with his offensive staff Tuesday night to pick a starter.  The third-year coach let offensive coordinator Bill Cubit tell the three quarterbacks individually before practice Wednesday morning.  Beckman called it a tough choice.

"We've got three very capable quarterbacks," he said. "Wes Lunt was the guy that ended up performing in the end."

Lunt made five starts as a true freshman at Oklahoma State, throwing for more than 1,100 yards.  But after an injury ended his season, he decided to transfer to Illinois - the school he grew up rooting for.  Now he is in position to be the face of the program for the next three years.

"I think my mentality is going to stay the same," Lunt said.  "I've been preparing to be the starter since camp and since spring and just stay the same and get better everyday."

Now that Lunt is the starter, the question remains who will be be his backup.  Beckman wasn't ready to name a No. 2 on Wednesday.  Instead he said senior Reilly O'Toole and sophomore Aaron Bailey are "2A and 2B."

"I spent three years where we had a dual quarterback system, and as long as you educate your players on the situation that's going to occur, if you are going to play, as long as you educate them and your players know that," said Beckman.

As for Bailey moving to another position, Beckman said the sophomore still wants to play quarterback, so that is where he will stay for now.
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