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2011 NCAA Spring Football: Illinois Fighting Illini

Oh what a difference a QB makes.

The Illinois Fighting Illini were expected to be one of the worst teams in the Big Ten in 2010. That was, until they discovered they had a gem at the quarterback position in Nathan Scheelhaase. The freshman sensation showed he could make plays with both his arm and his legs, and brought a lot of excitement to a high-scoring Illinois offense.

This team will lose a lot of key players, namely running back Mikel LeShoure who had an outstanding junior season and led the team in rushing. LeShoure was the catalyst for the offense, absolutely punishing defenders and creating opportunities for others.

In addition to losing LeShoure, the Illini will lose fellow star juniors Martez Wilson and Corey Liuget on the defensive side of the ball, which could prove to be a huge blow.

This is going to be a team looking for someone to step up, and that man has to be the sophomore quarterback. Scheelhaase is going to be the leader of this team, which has a lot of question marks.

Illinois will play their Spring game on Saturday, April 23rd. You can follow me on Twitter @SayreBedinger

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.