Illinois quarterback Jeff George, Jr. took to Twitter on Wednesday to announce that he has chosen to leave the program and transfer to another school for the 2018 season.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” - Jeremiah 29:11 pic.twitter.com/of61WXyUtK— Jeff George (@jgeorgeqb) January 17, 2018
This may come as a surprise to many fans, but in all honesty, George may have seen the writing on the wall. Behind Cam Thomas and (potentially) incoming freshmen Coran Taylor and MJ Rivers, George likely was not expecting to see much time on the field in 2018, making him choose to evaluate options elsewhere.
On the field, George was a serviceable option for the Illini. Completing over 50 percent of his pass attempts while throwing for five touchdowns, George had flashes of potential in his time in the Orange and Blue.
His biggest struggle, however, was the lackluster playcalling of ousted offensive coordinator Garrick McGee. George was rarely given the chance to shine under center and was rarely allowed to try and air the ball out.
When a team lacks playmakers like the Illini did in 2017 due to injuries, you have to be willing to trust your quarterback and allow him the chances to succeed. McGee did not do that, and it wasted whatever talent George could have provided to the two-win team.
This sets up an interesting quarterback battle in the spring for the Illini. With Cam Thomas likely leading the charge and Taylor and Rivers behind him, the Illini could roll out a high-tempo offense that relies on a strong running game or short out passes that require a bit of speed and strength.
I fully expect the Illini to stick to a no-huddle type scheme that allows Thomas to really showcase his abilities as a leader on the field. This offense will also allow him to use his arm as well as his legs to lead the young offense.
Wherever Jeff George ends up, we at The Champaign Room wish him the best of luck.