Illinois football lands highly touted Wes Lunt

Although still in the offseason, the Illinois football team received some good news Monday when former Oklahoma State quarterback Wes Lunt announced he would be transferring to Illinois.

He will have to sit out one season per NCAA transfer rules, but will have three years of eligibility remaining.

The Rochester, Ill., native considered the Illini right out of high school but ultimately chose Oklahoma State. He was the No. 7 pro-style quarterback in his class and the No. 9 player in Illinois, according to Rivals.

Lunt was named the starter as a true freshman for the Cowboys before injuries derailed his season. He set a Big 12 freshman record of 436 passing yards in a 59-36 loss to Arizona on Sept. 8 before missing time after injuring his knee in the first quarter the following week against Louisiana-Lafayette. He returned to the starting lineup in a win against TCU on Oct. 27, but sustained a concussion during the next game against Kansas State.

The 6-foot-5 signal caller finished the season with 1,108 yards, six touchdowns and seven interceptions.

While Lunt’s arrival is welcome news in Champaign, it creates a potential quarterback controversy in 2014. The Illini have true freshman Aaron Bailey waiting behind Nathan Scheelhaase this season, and he was also extremely highly rated coming out of high school. Bailey was the No. 5 player in Illinois in the 2013 class and was named the No. 9 dual-threat quarterback by Rivals.

Lunt seems to fit in with new offensive coordinator Bill Cubit’s spread passing attack from Western Michigan, while Bailey is more of a runner and is able to create plays running the ball as well. Bailey has said that he will stay at Illinois, but he is not open to changing positions.

Stephen can be reached at and @steve_bourbon.