Nothing against his old man, but Jeff George Jr. has a new favorite NFL quarterback.
“Recently I’m a big Aaron Rodgers guy,” the younger George said. “I like his energy and how he sat back all those years before he stepped into his starting spot.”
Fitting, perhaps, to how the recruitment involving the son of former Illinois quarterback Jeff George is going.
George Jr. recently picked up a gray-shirt scholarship offer from Illinois.
The offer means the Class of 2014 quarterback from Warren (Ind.) Central wouldn’t be on scholarship his first season if he chooses Illinois, but would find himself on scholarship the following spring.
“The recruiting process is awesome,” George Jr. said. “I’m having so much fun in getting around and seeing everything. It’s a great experience.”
George Jr. and his high school teammates competed in June at a 7-on-7 camp at Illinois.
This is where Illinois extended its offer. New offensive coordinator Bill Cubit is the lead recruiter on George Jr., who does not have any other offers at this point.
He said he is receiving interest from Akron, Cincinnati. Indiana, Louisville and Purdue.
Aside from his time throwing at Illinois, he also went to camps at Cincinnati, Louisville and Northwestern this summer.
“Our team went undefeated (at Illinois) and looked real solid,” George Jr. said. “Afterwards, they said they liked what they saw. They wanted to see me make some more key throws, and they did.”
George Jr. split time last year at quarterback at Warren Central after he started his sophomore season at Brebeuf Jesuit in Indianapolis before he transferred. He is the projected starter heading into his senior season.
“It was kind of difficult at first going from a school of 800 to a school of 4,000,” George Jr. said. “Football-wise, it wasn’t really all that bad. Football is football wherever you go. I know what I can do. I really try to let my play do all the talking.”
The younger George wears No. 3, the same number his father wore during stints with the Oakland Raiders, Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks, four of the seven teams the elder George played with during a 14-year NFL career.
He stands 6 feet, 3 inches and 190 pounds, and is a pro-style quarterback. The addition of Cubit to Tim Beckman’s staff has made George Jr. pay particularly close attention to his dad’s alma mater.
“I know he likes to throw the ball and likes a pro-style offense,” George Jr. said of Cubit. “Illinois hasn’t really been that way in the past. He’s been showing they might want to take it in a new direction.”
George Jr. also plays varsity baseball at Warren Central, where he is a middle infielder, and after he stopped playing basketball following his freshman year of high school, said he plans to try the sport again for this upcoming winter.
George Jr. said he has played football ever since he can remember.
He said his dad — the No. 1 pick in the 1990 NFL Draft — didn’t force him into picking up the sport.
“Nothing was really pushed at all,” George Jr. said. “I just fell in love with it. Going up to all his games, I just acquired it just being around the whole time.”
George Jr. has visited the Illinois campus several times with his father, so he is familiar with the facilities and other amenities in Champaign-Urbana.
He said he doesn’t have an exact timeline on when he wants to decide on a school and said he doesn’t feel pressure from his father about what school he’ll wind up at.
“He’s been extremely supportive,” George Jr. said. “He’s just said, ‘I want you to go wherever is the right fit.’ Since he’s been through (the recruiting process), he knows the whole thing, and he can give me his thoughts. He’s really just leaving it up to me.”