Connect with us


Jack Trudeau was one of the most successful quarterbacks ever at Illinois



Jack Trudeau, Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame
Jan 2, 1984; Pasadena, CA, USA: FILE PHOTO; Illinois Fighting Illini quarterback Jack Trudeau (10) in action against the UCLA Bruins during the 1984 Rose Bowl where UCLA beat Illinois 45-9. Mandatory Credit: Long Photography-USA TODAY Sports

Jack Trudeau led Illinois to a 9-0 Big Ten Record

This series of articles features athletes who will be inducted into the Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame in September.

The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics named 12 new members to the UI Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2023, including athletes and coaches from nine teams. This is the seventh Hall of Fame class. It includes two Olympic medalists, members of their sport’s national hall of fame, national champions, high professional draft picks, a Super Bowl champion, and a national record holder for more than 70 years.

The 1983 Illinois Fighting Illini football team is the answer to a trivia question. What is the only Big Ten team to ever go undefeated, beating every other team in the conference? In the 128 years of the Big Ten Conference, Illinois is the only team to do so. 1983 was a magical year for the Illini, and Jack Trudeau was the leader of the offense. In that era of football, quarterbacks usually take time to get better. That was not the case for Trudeau.

The Forest Lake, Minnesota native played sparingly as a freshman, but Trudeau was electric the minute he stepped on the field as a sophomore. Trudeau shinned against Iowa, completing 26 passes for over 300 yards and three touchdowns. Illinois’ victory against Iowa was the first of three wins against top-ten teams. He earned All-Big Ten honors for his performance on the field in 1983.

Trudeau re-wrote the record book at Illinois during his career. When his career was over, he set school records in pass attempts, completions, yards, and touchdowns. Trudeau also set an NCAA record for most pass attempts without an interception (215). He also finished second to Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie for the Davey O’Brien Award, given to the nation’s top quarterback in 1984.

The Indianapolis Colts selected Trudeau in the second round of the 1986 NFL Draft.


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.