Bailey will arrive soon

Bailey will arrive soon

Most of the Illinois quarterback talk on Thursday revolved around Wes Lunt.

The former Oklahoma State quarterback and Rochester product was reportedly on campus for a visit.

If Lunt does decide to pick his home-state school, he'll have three years of eligibility left. We'll have to wait and see if that happens.

One future Illinois quarterback is a little more than three weeks away from arriving on campus.

Aaron Bailey.

The Bolingbrook quarterback put a scare in some when he injured his right knee last fall.

The sprained MCL he sustained caused the key recruit in Tim Beckman’s Class of 2013 to miss half the season before returning for Bolingbrook’s Class 8A second-round playoff game.

But a future teammate of Bailey’s at Illinois, Class of 2014 Illinois commit Mike Dudek, and Neuqua Valley made sure Bailey would not return to Memorial Stadium and a shot at the state title.

Regardless of the season-ending 44-33 loss, Bailey did his part, mainly with his feet. He rushed for 225 yards on 28 carries, including three touchdowns, and threw for 76 yards and another touchdown.

“My knee’s good now,” Bailey said. “I’m able to squat, run and push off of it. We just kept praying and trusting in God. I kept doing rehab and working it out. I haven’t looked back.”

Bailey has spent much of the past three months prepping for the start of his Illinois career.

A superb baseball player, he spent the spring away from the diamond to hone in on football.

His workouts have consisted of weight-room work every other day and running drills on days he’s not lifting.

Aside from those workouts, Bailey is throwing up to three times a week.

He’s eager to arrive in Champaign. And he won’t have much longer to wait.

Bailey said he is scheduled to depart Bolingbrook and make the 140-mile drive south on June 9.

“I can’t wait,” Bailey said. “I hear a lot of my friends that are coming back from college and they’re telling me what it’s like. I’m excited just of the fact of getting used to colelge life and being on my own.”

The communications major, who checks in at 6 feet, 2 inches and 215 pounds, already knows who his two college roommates are.

If he needs to work on his handoffs, he can turn to Peoria Richwoods running back Kendrick Foster and Plainfield Central defensive tackle Bryce Douglas, who was utilized last fall in spurts as a goal-line back for the Wildcats.

“Bryce is a big dude,” Bailey said with a laugh about the son of former Illinois men’s basketball standout Bruce Douglas.

The three Class of 2013 signees are tight already.

“We’re all very close, so that’s a plus right there,” Bailey said. “They’re my boys, and it should be a fun time.”

Bailey said he talks to quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase and new offensive coordinator Bill Cubit on a weekly basis.

He said it was bittersweet to see coaches like Billy Gonzales, Chris Beatty and Luke Butkus, coaches who played an integral part in recruiting Bailey, depart.

“You’ve got to do things like that to help the team out sometimes,” Bailey said. “At the same time, you get a chance to meet new coaches. (Coach Cubit) knows the game so well. He’s a great coach and he’s coached a lot of great quarterbacks. I plan on being one of those.”


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JimOATSfan wrote on May 18, 2013 at 9:05 am

"Bailey to Lunt!" could be the play-by-play call of the future that makes the difference for the Illini football program going forward.  Never know which athletes will transform a program and an era.