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Illinois Football: QB Aaron Bailey to Transfer

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After enduring two botched redshirt situations and with little hope for future playing time, backup quarterback Aaron Bailey will transfer from Illinois.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Former four-star Bolingbrook quarterback recruit Aaron Bailey has put in a transfer request with the Illini football team, according to Beth Long of Scout and the Sun Times.

Aaron Bailey was the most controversial player on last year's football team. When fans quickly changed course from complaining about running quarterback Nate Scheelhaase to complaining about passing quarterback Wes Lunt, many believed that Aaron Bailey should become the team's starter. Despite not being a good fit for the offense and having placed third in the preseason quarterback competition, fans were determined to promote Bailey because of his incredible athleticism.

Bailey showed promise at the tail end of the Wisconsin game, where he led the Illini down the field with a variety of quarterback scrambles, option plays, and a couple of hail mary deep balls. While Bailey was impressive to watch and surely entertaining every time he stepped on the field, there was a reason he worked behind Wes Lunt and Reilly O'Toole in practice. Bill Cubit simply did not trust Aaron Bailey to run the passing plays necessary for the offense to win and he clearly did not believe in two-quarterback systems.

This transfer is about playing time and the inability for Bailey to play quarterback in Cubit's offensive system. It doesn't help that Beckman and Cubit botched the redshirt situation twice, first by allowing him to run about 30 total plays in short yardage situations his freshman year and second by allowing him to run 30 total plays in clean-up duty his sophomore year for no apparent reason. Bailey should have been redshirted his first season with a dependable QB at the helm (Scheelhaase) and been ready to contribute wherever possible until 2017, where he would become the de facto starter. If he wasn't willing to wait that long, then the transfer could have still taken place. Bailey was misused and mistreated by this staff, and he deserves credit for sticking it out for a couple years.

Bailey will no doubt find success at his next school, wherever that may be. He is an unbelievable athlete and capable of shredding Big Ten defenses with his running abilities. If Bailey were willing to play a skill position, there's a good chance he would have been a star at Illinois. I haven't seen any potential targets for Bailey's transfer yet, but we'll be sure to update this post as new details are revealed. Every Illini fan should wish good luck to Aaron Bailey in the future.

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