The Essential List: Aaron Bailey

A look at Aaron Bailey -- one of a select group of players essential to the Illinois cause heading in to spring drills.

Aaron Bailey - Quarterback - 6-2, 220, Sophomore

The Word: Bailey had the loudest four yards passing and 83 yards rushing of all time last season. OK, so maybe I'm stretching it just a bit, but his season totals seem low compared to how much interest and thought-energy was spent on him during his freshman year. You look at the numbers and it doesn't seems like much. Actually, it might make you wonder why he didn't do more. Every game, all game, we waited. And wanted. And wondered. He did his thing, learning on the fly and flashing wonderful potential, especially on the ground.

2013: Passing: 2 for 5 with four yards and a touchdown. Rushing: 20 carries for 83 yards and three scores.

Expectation: He's entering spring eyeing the starting position. Nobody would complain if he beat Wes Lunt out for the spot — not in the least, but it's going to be a tall order. What happens if he doesn't get the nod? Many would assume he'll be asked to change positions or seek a transfer. I hope neither of those options are considered. Even if he doesn't take the majority of the snaps, coordinator Bill Cubit has already established the foundation for using a two-QB system effectively. No matter what happens, Bailey is on the Essential List because he's the highest rated high school prospect Tim Beckman landed, and he's one the best athletes on the roster.

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