If you're an Illini fan, you've got to like this comparison.
Wes Lunt to Tom Brady.
"Body-type-wise, Tom Brady. He has added weight, weighing about 228 now. He has a calm demeanor until someone screws up. Then he is more forceful. He has a good presence about him," Illinois offensive coordinator Bill Cubit said in an interview with BTN's Tom Dienhart. "I had Trent Edwards at Stanford. I think this kid is a bit ahead of where Trent was when I was there."
Well, well, well. In the eyes of his offensive coordinator, Lunt, the much-heralded transfer from Oklahoma State, is in pretty great company.
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Lunt appears to be the front-runner in the battle for the Illini's vacant starting QB job. Despite an at-times rocky performance in the spring game (and a strong performance in that game from main competitor Reilly O'Toole), Cubit had nothing but good things to say about the sophomore.
"They all talked about the stats from Lunt’s spring game," Cubit said. "But if three passes that hit guys in the chest aren’t dropped, his numbers look pretty good. He made some throws that are really big-time throws. The back-shoulder throw … the field throws … the comeback to the wide side of the field. That’s important. If you can’t do that, then those corners on the weak side will play between the two receivers and give you that throw if you can’t take it. Well, this kid can take it. He’ll spread out defenses. He’s really intelligent and really smart. But he needs a lot of reps. He was hurt a lot at Okie State. Didn’t do much in the spring (of 2013). Comes here and is on the scout team (last year). And in the spring, all the reps were equal. With more reps, he’ll be fine."
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Brady and Edwards are two college quarterbacks you want to be compared to. Brady threw for 4,773 yards in four years at Michigan before going on to become one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. Edwards threw for 5,429 in four years at Stanford before heading to the NFL.
Lunt was pretty good in six games at Oklahoma State in 2012. He passed for 1,108 yards and had a 61.8 completion percentage. But he threw just six touchdowns compared to seven interceptions. After sitting out last season, he passed for 99 yards in a pick, completing just six passes.
While Cubit didn't necessarily let any secrets slip as to who would end up winning the position fight between Lunt and O'Toole, it seems like those two have a distinct advantage over another sophomore, Bolingbrook product Aaron Bailey, who Cubit said might not have the passing experience to win the gig.
"He wants to play quarterback. We have to try to keep getting him better," Cubit said. "He runs all the protections, all the run-game stuff, knows the check system and matchups. But he came from a high school that hardly threw the ball, so he has a lot of catching up to do. He has arm strength. It’s the decision-making process where he has to learn how to get rid of the ball on time. It takes a lot of reps. Reilly and Wes have been in that type of offense in high school, they have a better feel for it."