Nathan Scheelhaase named Juice’s successor at Illinois QB

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Illinois football coach Ron Zook today announced that Nathan Scheelhaase will enter the 2010 season as the Fighting Illini’s starting quarterback. One of the biggest questions entering the 2010 season was “who will replace Juice Williams?” Old #7 had a very disappointing senior season, but he still departed UI the school’s all-time leader in total offense.

By Paul M. Banks

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We knew Eddie McGee, who looked so bad in his starts at QB that he mad a struggling Williams look All-Conference, would not be asked to compete for the position. At the end of 2010 it was thought, freshman Jacob Charest would be given the nod because of his experience.

Charest made his first start against Northwestern and played in four games. He had 145 yards on a career-best 14-of-27 passing with one touchdown and two interceptions against Northwestern, the only game he threw a pick in. He passed for a career-high 185 yards, on 10-of-19 passing, and a touchdown in win over Minnesota.

However, the Illini know this is a rebuilding year (if you can “re-build off a 3-9 campaign, that’s kind of a scary thought) with a new QB, new offensive coordinator, and lots of new wide receivers to break in. Might as well just start all over again clean.

“Following spring ball, our coaching staff had some time to review the quarterback situation and felt Nathan proved himself as a leader both on and off the field,” Zook said. “He showed the ability to run Coach Petrino’s offense at a high level, and we thought it was important to establish Nathan as a team leader entering summer workouts.”

Scheelhaase is a redshirt freshman from Kansas City, who led Rockhurst High School to a state title as a junior and was named the Kansas City Metro Player of the Year as a senior after passing for 1,726 yards and 17 touchdowns, while rushing for 864 yards and 18 scores.

By the way, Illinois now has eight game times set for the 2010 season.

2010 Illinois Football Schedule
Sept. 4 vs. Missouri (St. Louis) 11:30 a.m. CT
Sept. 11 SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 6:30 p.m. CT
Sept. 18 NORTHERN ILLINOIS 11 a.m. CT
Oct. 2 OHIO STATE TBA
Oct. 9 at Penn State 11 a.m. CT
Oct. 16 at Michigan State 11 a.m. CT
Oct. 23 INDIANA (Homecoming) 11 a.m. CT
Oct. 30 PURDUE TBA
Nov. 6 at Michigan TBA
Nov. 13 MINNESOTA (Dad’s Day) TBA
Nov. 20 at Northwestern (Wrigley Field) 11 a.m. CT
Dec. 3 at Fresno State 9:15 p.m. CT

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