Illinois quarterback announces he'll transfer
There was a debate about who would take over at quarterback following Wes Lunt’s final season in Champaign.
That debate lost a candidate on Wednesday.
Second-year quarterback Jimmy Fitzgerald will transfer from the program, the team announced.
“After much thought and discussion with my family, I have decided to leave the Illinois football program and consider other opportunities for my collegiate career,” Fitzgerald said in a statement released by Illinois. “I want to thank all the coaches I’ve played for and worked with at Illinois, including Coach Beckman, Coach Cubit and Coach Smith. My Illini teammates are an incredible bunch of guys and many will remain friends for life.
“Having grown up in this community, I’ve been a life-long fan of the Fighting Illini and it was a fantastic thrill and opportunity to wear the orange and blue. I know there are great things in the future for the Fighting Illini, but I feel this is the time for a fresh start in my collegiate career.”
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Fitzgerald redshirted as a freshman last year. The former three-star receiver obviously wasn’t a fit in Garrick McGee’s offensive system.
He was the second quarterback to transfer since Lovie Smith’s staff arrived. Illinois also saw 2016 quarterback Eli Peters transfer to Toledo in May.
Without Fitzgerald, the quarterback of the future in Champaign will likely be Jeff George Jr. or Chayce Crouch. It remains to be seen which one will serve as Lunt’s backup in 2016.