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February 5, 2014
Jeff George Jr. will be an Illini
Indianapolis Warren Central quarterback Jeff George Jr. may be following in his father's footsteps at Illinois, but make no mistake - his goal is to make a name for himself in his own right on the field at Memorial Stadium.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound George accepted an offer to enroll at Illinois as a grey shirt - which means he will be on the roster, but will pay his own way this fall. He chose the Illini over two other grey shirt offers.
"I sat down with my mom and dad and discussed the pros and cons," George said. "I decided between Illinois, SMU, and Nebraska and everything at Illinois outweighed the others."
For younger fans who may not know the name, the elder Jeff George stared at quarterback at Illinois for two seasons (1988 / 1989) and is the 8th career passing leader at the school. He was selected No. 1 overall by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1990 NFL Draft.
He's a legacy and son of a player with near-legendary status at Illinois, but George Jr. says that wasn't the major factor in his decision to play for the Illini. His dad's main role was helping to manage the recruiting process, having navigated that same territory himself in the mid-1980's.
"He has been through this, so he helped me along," George Jr. said. "But it was all my decision - he left it up to me. I'm my own guy. Growing up I've always been an Illinois fan, and that's one of the reasons why I choses it."
George took an official visit to Illinois last weekend with his parents, and it was that trip that fully convinced him that Illinois was the right fit. He got to spend quality time with offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Bill Cubit -
"Coach Cubit is unbelievable," George said. "He's one of the reasons why I want to go to Illinois. He has a great offensive mind, and I feel like he can take my game to the next level. He's has a great offensive mind, and I really feel like I fit in with what he is trying to accomplish."
George steps into a program that is building depth at the quarterback position. At camp Rantoul in August, he will compete with Wes Lunt, Aaron Bailey, Reilly O'Toole, and fellow 2014 recruit Chayce Crouch. But he's not going to Illinois with the expectation that he will hold a clipboard for four years.
He's his own man, but he inherited his father's swagger.
"I have confidence in my abilities wherever I go," George said. "When I get there who knows what could happen. I feel like I can compete. I bring a hard working attitude and the mindset of a winner. I feel like I have the arm and pocket-passing attributes to contribute to the program."