Illinois Football: Illini add graduate transfer quarterback AJ Bush


The Illinois football team added a graduate transfer quarterback to the mix on Monday night.

Jeremy Werner of 247Sports reported that Virginia Tech quarterback AJ Bush is transferring to play football for the Illini next season. He is a graduate transfer who has one year of eligibility remaining. Illinois wanted a graduate transfer quarterback for next season, but Bush was not a name on people’s radar.

Coming out of high school, Bush was a 6-foot-3, 211-pound dual-threat quarterback from Norcross High School in Alpharetta, Georgia. He was a three-star recruit who was the No. 1732 player in the class of 2014 and the No. 43 dual-threat quarterback in the nation. He originally committed to play football for the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

After two years with Nebraska and seeing zero snaps behind center in a game, Bush decided to transfer out of the program. He then committed to Iowa Western Community College so he didn’t have to sit out a year. While at Iowa Western, Bush threw for 602 yards, three touchdowns and eight interceptions. He had a completion rate of 45.6-percent. He also ran for 285 yards and five touchdowns while fumbling the ball eight times.

Bush decided to transfer out of Iowa Western after one year and committed to Virginia Tech for the 2017 campaign. He didn’t see much action with the Hokies, though. For the season, he was 7-of-11 for 99 yards and one touchdown. He then graduated from Virginia Tech and has committed to play football for the Illini.

The quote Werner got from Bush is exactly the mindset the veteran quarterback should have. Bush said, “My mindset is the same mindset I’ve had at any other school: just come in and compete.”

Bush now gives more depth to the Illinois quarterback situation. The question is how much will he play? I really like the stable of quarterbacks the Illini have right now. Cam Thomas is getting a lot of reps in Spring Practice. He is the incumbent starter for Illinois. There were flashes of being a solid quarterback last year but no consistency. I look for him to take a step forward this season.

The two passers I am looking at to compete for the starting job in 2018 is Coran Taylor and MJ Rivers. I think these two are potentially better than anything we have on the roster right now or what we have coming in with Bush as a graduate transfer. Bush has only thrown 11 more passes at the DI level than the two incoming freshmen.

My honest feelings on Bush coming to Illinois; I am kind of disappointed with the caliber of graduate transfer that was brought in. I was expecting a few other options that could really come in and be a sure-fire impact player. Bush does bring more depth, though. More competition is never a bad thing. Hopefully, the Illini have a solid starter in the group they have coming in.


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