By Jonah Puls
On Monday, Illinois released information that quarterback Jacob Charest, a sophomore to-be, will be transferring.
He has been gone for over a week now. His decision was made last week, right before Illinois announced their starting QB would be Nathan Scheelhaase.
Charest has reportedly made no decisions on where he will be attending, but some of the possibilities include transferring to a Football Bowl Subdivision school (Division I) which would require him to sit out a year, a Football Championship Subdivision school (Division I-AA), or a Division II school.
Charest’s main reason for choosing to depart from the University of Illinois is that he wants to be closer to his family in Charlotte, N.C.
His father called Ron Zook on June 1 to tell him the news.
“The thing they said was being homesick and being closer to home and all that kind of stuff,” Zook said. “But I think you see that happens. Every program, when you’ve got some pretty good quarterbacks, when they don’t feel like they’re going to be the guy…”
During his freshman season at Illinois, Charest participated in four games. In those four games he passed for 382 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions.
With his departure, Illinois’ experience at the QB position takes a hit. The three quarterbacks on scholarship are Nathan Scheelhaase, Chandler Whitmer, and incoming freshman Miles Osei—none of which have appeared in a game.
Now, Zook has come out and said that Eddie McGee—once a QB, who was converted to wide receiver—will be practicing at the QB position again. He will be moving back and forth between WR and QB, which is similar to what he has done in the past.
“We’ve been working Eddie, anyway,” Zook said. “Eddie’s been in the mix, anyway. The first part of spring ball, he basically was focusing on receiver. But then as we got into the spring, I pushed the issue about wanting him around (quarterback) as well. I felt it was important to first get the concept of playing wide receiver.”
Although playing multiple positions can be stressful, McGee is excited about the opportunity to do both.
“We’ve got to have Eddie ready to go as well,” Zook said. “It’ll be double training for Eddie, but Eddie wants to do that. He’s excited about that and looking forward to the opportunity. Eddie just wants to play.”
As for what else Charest’s departure means for Illinois: They are going to try to sign two quarterbacks during the recruiting process this year.
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