10 days to Camp Rantoul
Counting down the 50 most important Illini.
No. 10: Aaron Bailey, QB
Why he’s important: The recruit who headlined the Class of 2013 brings attributes similar to those of another dual-threat quarterback from the Chicago area. Juice Williams. Bailey, however, will have to make some leaps during preseason practices if he wants to supplant Wes Lunt as the likely starter. The Bolingbrook product appeared in nine games last fall, with Illinois using specific packages for when he came in. More times tha not, a run ensued as Bailey wound up with 83 rushing yards on 20 carries and three touchdowns. He only attempted five passes, completing two, for a paltry 4 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown pass to Matt LaCosse against Wisconsin. After that toss, he didn’t attempt a pass the rest of the season. He’ll likely factor into the Illinois gameplan at some point this season to give a change of pace option for the offense. Debate rings about whether he should switch positions if Lunt holds onto the starting job. Bailey came to Illinois to play quarterback and has stated he has no plans to play anywhere else. Whether that mind-set changes in the next year or not remains to be seen, but expect Bailey to see action this fall and not spend the entire season on the sidelines.
Fast fact: Bailey was the only Illini to receive Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors last season after he rushed for a career-high 56 yards on six carries and a touchdown against Miami (Ohio). He also completed his first career pass against the Redhawks.
Last year’s ranking: No. 23
Tomorrow: No. 9
No. 11: Teko Powell