We remember... Do you?
You don’t need to be too old to remember Mr. Charest. In fact, even you college-aged hooligans might have some faint memories of #12. He was a native of North Carolina and joined Ron Zook’s team as a freshman in 2008. He didn’t see a ton of playing time because a man named Juice Williams was on the team at the same time. Charest was a pro-style quarterback in the Class of 2008 and was a three-star recruit, according to 247Sports.
To be honest, there were not a lot of them. Probably because they had Juice Williams, Zook and his staff decided that they would redshirt Charest for his freshman season in 2008, but he did make some appearances on the field during the 2009 season. It wasn’t much, but Fighting Illini fans who did make it to a few games or followed that season closely might remember him.
He made one start and three total appearances during the 2009 season, all of which were Big Ten games: Minnesota, Northwestern and Purdue. Although the Illini were just 3-9 that season, Charest seemed to provide a bit of a spark. He was just 4-of-8 for 52 yards on Oct. 24 against Purdue, but during the Minnesota game (a 52-35 victory on Nov. 7) Charest was 10-of-19 for a career-best 185 yards. He was 14-of-27 against Northwestern on Nov. 14, which was Charest’s one and only start, but the Illini lost that one 21-16.
Check out his postgame comments below:
There’s not much of a legacy for Jacob Charest, except that as a 14-year-old I was unreasonably excited at the prospect of a guy who could really sling the ball around the field, and Charest looked like he could be that guy from his limited playing time during the 2009 season.
Unfortunately, early in the summer of 2010 Charest announced that he would be transferring away from Illinois. According to an article from Bleacher Report, Charest wanted to be closer to his family in North Carolina and would probably not transfer to a Division I school. Things actually turned out fine for Illinois because Nathan Scheelhaasse came in for the 2010 season. Anyone who has paid close attention to the past few years of football in Champaign knows the current fanbase would kill for a Nate Scheelhaase behind center.
Charest ended up going to Catawba College, a Division II school in North Carolina — much closer to home than Champaign.
The good news about him transferring so early was I avoided buying another jersey I would never actually end up wearing.