6 days to Camp Rantoul
Counting down the 50 most important Illini.
No. 6: Reilly O’Toole, QB
Why he’s important: If Wes Lunt goes down — he did miss most of the 2012 season at Oklahoma State with a dislocated kneecap and a concussion — O’Toole will likely replace him. The Wheaton native mainly saw mop-up duty in 2013, but managed to complete 75 percent of his passes (12 of 16) for 141 yards, one touchdown and one interception. It was the fewest passing attempts O’Toole had made in each of his first three seasons with the Illini. He only played in six games — Southern Illinois, Cincinnati, Miami (Ohio), Nebraska, Wisconsin and Ohio State — and his last appearance of the season against the Buckeyes resulted in a 5-yard sack that ended with an Ohio State safety after he fumbled the ball in the end zone before Matt LaCosse recovered. O’Toole has starting experience, starting twice in 2012 when Nathan Scheelhaase went down with an ankle injury, but his last start came 21 games ago. His career at Illinois hasn’t exactly panned out how the 2010 News-Gazette All-State Player of the Year likely envisioned, but it doesn’t seem to have affected his good-natured personality. Going into the fall, O’Toole likely has the best grasp of Bill Cubit’s offense. Both Lunt and Bailey have leaned on him heavily in picking up the quarterback-driven scheme.
Fast fact: The athletic ability of O’Toole isn’t exactly the first thing that pops into someone’s mind. Needless to say he probably wouldn’t win a race against Bailey, but of the five quarterbacks on the Illinois roster, he leads the pack with 157 career rushing yards.
Last year’s ranking: No. 8
Tomorrow: No. 5
No. 7: T.J. Neal