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Illinois Football season preview Pt. 1: Quarterback



Illini football
Sep 17, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Mississippi Rebels quarterback Luke Altmyer (7) runs the ball against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the second half at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois Football season preview Pt. 1: Quarterback

It’s hard not to be bullish on Illinois football in 2023. Head coach Bret Bielema and his staff have done a tremendous job upgrading the roster and adding talent. Over the next few weeks, we’ll preview the 2023 Fighting Illini in detail. We start with the quarterback room.


One of the more impressive aspects of the Illinois football quarterback room is how it’s built. The Illini are ready for the present with Mississippi transfer Luke Altmyer. The redshirt sophomore has three years of eligibility and could establish himself as one of the best quarterbacks in program history. The Illinois offensive staff has done a wonderful job upgrading the position over the last couple of seasons.

Tommy DeVito was an upgrade over Brandon Peters. Altmyer is an upgrade over DeVito. Though the Mississippi transfer is unproven, he has a higher ceiling than DeVito and could provide a downfield aspect to the passing game that DeVito could not provide. Altmyer has an NFL ceiling, something the Illini haven’t had at quarterback in a while.

Speaking of the present, if Altmyer is the starter — there might be some questions there — offensive coordinator Barry Lunney, Jr. can be confident the offense won’t fall apart if he has to go to the bench. The offensive staff has been impressed by redshirt freshman Donovan Leary’s progress over the spring and summer.

Not many casual fans know the name, John Paddock. He’s a veteran from Ball State that gives the Illinois football quarterback room, depth, and experience. Paddock, a redshirt senior, provides the Illini with a quarterback to push Leary for the backup role as Leary pushes Altmyer.

Altmyer is the likely starter, but the drop-off is not as significant as it has been over the last couple of years. Moreover, Altmyer could make the passing game a threat to the offense for the first time in a long time.

Armchair Illini is a comprehensive site dedicated to covering University of Illinois Athletics owned and operated by Alex Kyi. Dante Pryor has been writing about College Football for years on Saturday Blitz and is now the Lead Football Author for Armchair Illini.