The wait for an announcement deciding whom the starting quarterback for next season will be is now over; Nathan Scheelhaase will be taking on the responsibility to lead the team.
There was a three-way battle for the starting spot heading into spring practices this year between Jacob Charest, Nathan Scheelhaase, and Chandler Whittmer.
The announcement today from Ron Zook came rather surprisingly for most people, but he thought it was an appropriate time to promote Scheelhasse as the starting QB.
"Following spring ball, our coaching staff had some time to review the quarterback situation and felt Nathan proved himself as a leader both on and off the field," Zook said. "He showed the ability to run coach Petrino's offense at a high level, and we thought it was important to establish Nathan as a team leader entering summer workouts."
Scheelhasse will be a redshirt freshman next year, after coming out of high school as one of the most highly-touted prospects. He was ranked the No. 7 quarterback in the nation and a four-star recruit via Rivals.
Nathan was able to impress all the coaches with his ability to make plays with both his arm and feet, which he displayed during his senior season at Rockhurst High School when he passed for 1,726 yards and 17 touchdowns, all while rushing for 864 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Although he came to Illinois as a quarterback, there was discussion that he would be moved to cornerback because of his athletic ability, but he ultimately chose to stick it out as a quarterback.
Scheelhaase will be working under a new offensive mind next year, Paul Petrino, in which the style of play is more to the likes of Charest and Whittmer—a pro-style offense where the QB will be under center more than out of the shotgun.
Petrino has made it clear in the past, however, that he will adapt his offense to fit the style that the QB likes to play. With Scheelhaase in there, he will have the ability to use the option more now.
His first start will be in St. Louis on September 4, 2010 against Missouri.