Ladies and gentlemen, we got him, the Fighting Illini have their quarterback. Ole Miss sophomore quarterback Luke Altmyer Thursday afternoon announced his commitment minutes after Illinois head coach Bret Bielema tweeted out his signature “Bret signal”.
Something telling me that we have some good news coming for the #famILLy
— Bret Bielema (@BretBielema) December 29, 2022
Let’s go #Illini pic.twitter.com/q4mjYUbu5r
— Luke Altmyer (@lukealtmyer9) December 29, 2022
Nearly a month ago to the day, former four star prospect announced his intent to enter the transfer portal after the Texas Bowl.
The quarterback visited Illinois campus earlier this month and was figured to be one of Illinois’ top choices next to recent Purdue commit, Hudson Card. Despite tight lips, subtle comments by coach Bielema made it easy to figure either QB would be sporting the Block I on their helmet.
Once Card committed to Ryan Walters at Purdue rumors swirled that Altmyer would make his decision within a day or so after the Texas Bowl. It was likely that the Illini staff have had their eyes on Ole Miss’ Luke Altmyer since he lost the quarterback competition to fellow sophomore quarterback Jaxson Dart this past spring.
— Luke Altmyer (@lukealtmyer9) November 28, 2022
What it Means
When One Door Closes…
After quarterback Tommy DeVito confirmed on Wednesday during media day that his request for an additional year of eligibility was denied it became publicly official that Illinois was in the market for a new signal caller.
Tommy was the best man for the job and will go down as one of the most accurate passers in Illinois history. Enough can’t be said for the leadership he possesses, and his competitive nature between the white lines.
Another year would have been great in the short term, but it would have meant another lame duck season at the most important position in sports. That likely would hurt future recruiting and potentially force a young qb that isn’t ready into a starting role.
… a Window of Opportunity Opens
Illinois may not have gotten a major upgrade at the quarterback position, but more importantly landed themselves some stability. Luke Altmyer has up to three years of eligibility remaining and it’s likely he will use at least two of those years. Some much needed depth and talent added to a thinned out quarterback room after losing the likes of DeVito, Artur Sitkowski, and Ryan Johnson this offseason. That’s a lot of experience that will be sorely missed.
The 6’2″ Sophomore brings a great amount of athleticism and a strong arm so he should figure to fit in well with offensive coordinator Barry Lunney Jr’s offense. He is a bit on the skinnier side checking in at 200lbs according to Mississippi’s official profile.
The lack of experience will be the biggest knock on Altmyer. The Starkville, MS native has minimal film, completing 28-54 passes for 317 yards and three touchdowns and three interceptions. Although, he did make an appearance in last year’s Sugar Bowl in place of injured QB Matt Corral — arguably a bigger game than any Illinois quarterback has played in since “Juice” Williams in the 2008 Rose Bowl.
He completed 15-28 of his passes for 174 yards and his first career passing touchdown.
The up-and-down play is to be expected with so little game experience. A full offseason of being “the guy” and no real threat of taking his job should help remedy that.
In a QB room full of inexperience Luke will figure to all but own the starting job the second he steps foot on campus. For the first time in his collegiate career, Luke Altmyer has the keys to the car — a bright, orange car with a giant “Block I” on the hood and I-L-L on the license plate.
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