Illinois names Wes Lunt starting quarterback

Illinois coach Tim Beckman announced Wednesday on BTN Live that Wes Lunt will be the starting quarterback for the Fighting Illini.

The full interview with Beckman can be seen on tonight’s edition of BTN Live at 6 p.m. ET.

Lunt won a three-way battle to replace Nathan Scheelhaase, beating out senior Reilly O’Toole and sophomore Aaron Bailey. Lunt is a 6-5, 215-pound sophomore who sat out last season after transferring from Oklahoma State.

Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Lunt widely was considered to be the leading contender to win the job. He has a strong arm and advanced pocket presence. Lunt also is a good athlete, showing a knack for running the multiple offense of coordinator Bill Cubit.

The Illinois offense has a chance to be strong in 2014, building on a revival last season that saw the Illini rank sixth in the Big Ten in scoring (29.7 ppg); second in passing (287.7 ypg); fifth overall (426.7 ypg) during a 4-8 season (1-7 Big Ten).

Lunt will work with a promising group of receivers, a line that welcomes back four starters and a top back in Josh Ferguson as Illinois looks for its first bowl since 2011 as it enters its third season under Beckman.

Lunt is a native of Rochester, Ill., who started five games as a true freshman for Oklahoma State in 2012. He was the first true freshman to start a game at quarterback for the Cowboys since at least 1950. Lunt hit 61.8 percent of his passes (81-of-131) for 1,108 yards with six touchdowns and seven interceptions in six games in 2012 before transferring to Illinois.

About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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