RANTOUL — Effortless is one way to describe Wes Lunt’s throwing motion.
Natural is another way. The Rochester product has impressed all those in attendance at Camp Rantoul with the way the football comes out of his hand.
The same could be said of Aaron Bailey. The two newcomers at quarterback both have different skill sets — Lunt is a pocket passer and Bailey is a dual-threat — but it’s a hot topic at Camp Rantoul about who might start after Nathan Scheelhaase leaves.
“Lunt is going to be a guy who brings a big arm,” BTN analyst Howard Griffith said. “You’re going to have two guys that are going to be competing. One of them, obviously, is going to be the starter.”
Lunt started as a true freshman at Oklahoma State last year. Bailey likely won’t for Illinois this year, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t in the mix for 2014.
“He’s not just going to throw up the white flag and not compete,” Griffith said. “He’s out here competing everytime as an opportunity to try to lead this team in the future. If you watched his high school career, the one that he (stood out) is that he is a competitor.”
Lunt has not had many reps at Camp Rantoul, with Scheelhaase, Reilly O’Toole and Bailey getting the majority of snaps. Lunt did get a few in with the backups toward the end of practice on Wednesday morning after Scheelhaase rolled his right ankle, but Lunt had to watch Monday evening’s scrimmage from the sidelines.
“You want to play, but Nate, Reilly and Aaron have to get ready for the season,” Lunt said. “It was good that I got to hear the plays (during Monday’s scrimmage) and got to visualize being out there.”
Lunt doesn’t seem to mind leaving campus and practicing in Rantoul.
At Oklahoma State, the Cowboys hold their preseason practices on campus.
“It’s cool kind of being secluded,” said Lunt, who is rooming with quarterback Chase Haslett. “It’s been pretty nice. We’re done installing, so now it’s just getting people lined up in the right places and perfecting the offense.”
Lunt will run the scout team this fall. Tim Beckman has compared Lunt’s situation during camp to what Brandon Weeden did at Oklahoma State. The Cleveland Browns quarterback redshirted the 2007 season — the first year Beckman was Mike Gundy’s defensive coordinator — and ran the scout team in practice.
Lunt looks forward to emulating quarterbacks with different styles if he has to.
“I just want to make the defense better,” Lunt said. “Whatever the coaches ask of me, I’m going to do.”
And Lunt is eager for another Rochester product to join him at Illinois. Wide receiver Zach Grant is the second former Rocket who will play with the Illini once he is eligible for the 2014 season.
“It’s going to be nice,” Lunt said. “I really didn’t know much about it until it happened. He’s a great route runner and can go get the ball.”