Illinois Loses Jeff George Jr. and Chayce Crouch. Now What?
Lovie Smith isn’t having any quarterback luck.
If you thought trying to win a Super Bowl with Rex Grossman was hard, this is at a whole other level.
The quarterback situation was supposed to be fantastic last season. Virginia Tech transfer Dwayne Lawson was going to take the Big Ten by storm, and … grades were an issue. He wasn’t a part of the fun.
So it was a revolving door at quarterback in an attempt to give everyone a chance to groom for the future. On the plus side, everything was set up for a good quarterback battle this spring between three experienced options with the hopes that one would mature into the gig.
That all changed in a hurry.
Chayce Crouch had the size to be a tight end or a big, tough quarterback. He connected on just under 50% of his passes last year for 443 yards and a touchdown with a pick, and ran for a touchdown.
With another year of eligibility remaining, he chose to retire from football.
And then there’s Jeff George Jr. The Lord, apparently, has plans for him, and they don’t include being the quarterback at the University of Illinois.
The son of former NFL guy Jeff George completed 52% of his passes for 1,273 yards and seven touchdowns with ten picks last season. Now he’s transferring to try cranking up his career somewhere else.
Cam Thomas, come on down.
The slippery-smooth 6-2, 190-pounder ran for 233 yards and a score as a freshman, but throwing the football was a whole different story, completing just 42% of his passes for 375 yards with no touchdowns and five picks.
Even with all of the issues, he has plenty of upside and was expected to take over the gig in the spring battle. However, to go along with new-recruit M.J. Rivers, going after a transfer is a must – Tennessee’s Quinten Dormady would almost certainly be the No. 1 guy right away – signing a few more freshmen will be a priority.