The clearcut No. 1 target in the class, Aaron Bailey committed to Illinois early in the process and never wavered. Considered the 11th best quarterback in the country, the Bolingbrook standout provided a headlining name to both build the class around and to generate hope that Coach Tim Beckman's recruiting pitch was resonating with high profile players.
In his favor: The coaching staff needs to win now. That means the best players are going to be on the field in some capacity. Given his talent and high profile status, Bailey may be put to use early.
Why he will play: He's too explosive not to be utilized. Bailey has a strong arm and exceptional speed, a dangerous combo and two skills that don't necessarily have to be refined to be put to use on the field early in a player's career.
Why he will sit: It's going to be hard to beat out a three-year starter. I think it will be obvious in fall camp that Bailey's talent exceeds Nathan Scheelhaase's. But is he ready to lead an offense? Is he ready to be the face of a program? How quickly can he pick up the playbook? These are questions that won't be easy for a first-year player to answer.
Final thought: Bailey is going to play. In the least, the staff will design a package or a handful of plays to get him on the field. With Wes Lunt waiting in the wings for 2014, Bailey needs to see as much action as he can to get ready for that competition. Scheelhaase, at least initially, will probably still give the Illini the best shot to win games. However, should Illinois start the season poorly don't be surprised if Bailey takes over. In that scenario, what's the downside to the best player getting the experience? There isn't.