Fitzgerald Eyes Cubit, Illini Offense

Don't count Jimmy Fitzgerald as one of those surprised by Illinois' 2-0 start.

The 2015 quarterback from Centennial High, a stone's throw from Memorial Stadium in Champaign, says the hometown team's proficiency on offense hasn't surprised him one bit.

"I honestly expected this from Coach (Bill) Cubit, just from talking to him this summer and having meeting with him," Fitzgerald said. "He knows what he's doing and he's been around the game for a long time. They have some really good athletes out there, too."

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Fitzgerald was one of the at least five high school quarterbacks on hand for the Illini's 45-17 win against Cincinnati last weekend.

Fitzgerald holds offers from Illinois and Yale. Given his proximity to the Illinois campus, he's has been there, done that countless times. This time around he first met with Cubit and watched a highlight tape with the coordinator. Then he spoke to transfer signal caller Wes Lunt.

"He came over and talked to me for about 10 minutes, just about Illinois and how he already feels more comfortable here than he ever did at Oklahoma State," Fitzgerald said of their conversation.

Fitzgerald likes what's going on in the Illini quarterback room, with Lunt, freshman Aaron Bailey, junior Reilly O'Toole and senior Nathan Scheelhaase taking direction from Cubit. Well thought of 2014 commitment Chayce Crouch will soon join as well.

"I mean, I really like that there's so many great athletes at the quarterback position," Fitzgerald said. "That means there's competition every day and I'm trying to get better."

Just now at the onset of his junior season, there's no rush for a decision, Fitzgerald said. He says he's seeing what plays out and waiting to gather as much information about as many options as possible.

"September 1 hit and I got 65 letters the first two days (that contact between schools and players was allowed)," he said. "It's nuts. My parents and coaches help me (handle the attention) a lot though. I'm just trying to focus on the season. It's not overwhelming right now."

Don't be surprised if Fitzgerald turns up at Memorial Stadium again this season. He says he's also working out visits to Northwestern, Indiana and Vanderbilt.


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