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Looking for a ‘home’, QB Altmyer lands at Illinois

The Illini’s new presumed QB1 is here.

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Louisiana State Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Welcome to Illinois, Luke.

On Thursday afternoon at the Smith Football Center, new transfer QB Luke Altmyer had his first media availability and introduced himself.

“I’m just a guy that wakes up everyday with a purpose,” Altmyer said. “I walk through the doors each day for my teammates, not for myself.”

Transferring from Ole Miss, choosing Illinois seemed like the obvious choice for the current sophomore, as he wasted no time making his decision after entering the transfer portal back on Nov. 28.

“I was here for a morning and an afternoon and I feel like I got everything I needed to see,” Altmyer said. “Usually on official visits you’re here for like two days, two days and a half and you’re doing a lot of different things, but I was here for strictly business.”

He made the decision on Dec. 29, but he stayed around in Oxford to help out with Ole Miss’ bowl game prep. It was a very fast turnaround, but he knew right when he got to Champaign that it was meant to be.

“You can tell that these guys in this locker room and this staff, they’re really hungry and have a real belief,” Altmyer said.

And he’s very excited to start working around the guys who will be protecting him, something that head coach Bret Bielema sold him very highly in the recruiting process.

“Coach B, he made that very evident that’s kind of his specialty,” Altmyer said. “The history he had at Arkansas with the big guys and the people he’s produced to put in the league speaks for itself.”

To get a couple of key guys returning on the line has Altmyer stoked.

“The group that’s coming back too with Isaiah Adams and Julian Pearl amongst some others are great players,” Altmyer said.

You also can’t forget the key weapons he’ll be throwing to next season — specifically receivers Casey Washington, Isaiah Williams and Pat Bryant.

“They’re returning some really good receivers and tight ends who can go make plays,” Altmyer said. “I’ve seen it with my own eyes on film, I know I can put the ball in their hands.”

At Ole Miss, Altmyer was the backup QB to Matt Corral (a current NFL QB for the Carolina Panthers) and Jaxson Dart. Being behind those guys was sort of a confidence ladder for him.

“Year one I wasn’t a really confident player,” Altmyer said. “I was kind of waiting my turn instead of taking advantage of every opportunity, and I think in year two I really took advantage of every single thing I did.”

Now, he claims to be on the top of that ladder.

“I fully believe that right now I’m the most confident as I’ve been,” Altmyer said.

What truly matters is that he’s found his place where he can spend the final three years of his college eligibility.

“I was looking for a home,” Altmyer said. “I was just looking for a place where I felt valued, a place where they believed in me.”