Illinois taking a closer look at its QB depth this spring
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) Trenard Davis has been moved around Illinois' roster for the past year. He has landed at quarterback for now.
The redshirt sophomore arrived on campus last spring after transferring from Parkland College in Champaign. He played wide receiver for a while. Coaches then decided to move 6-foot, 195-pound Davis to the defensive side to play safety.
Then he got moved again. After quarterbacks Wes Lunt and Chayce Crouch got hurt, coach Lovie Smith needed someone to back up then-freshman Jeff George Jr. So Davis switched back to offense.
With Crouch rehabbing a shoulder injury during spring practices, Davis has an opportunity to impress the coaching staff along with a few other QB hopefuls.
''It means a lot, it's a great honor,'' Davis said. ''I just appreciate them giving me the opportunity. I'm just really excited about it and want to see what I can do.''
Crouch, a junior, had surgery after he got hurt against Rutgers last season. Crouch was limited at the beginning of the spring practices, but he has progressed from doing footwork drills to throwing to receivers.
The rehab process has gone smoothly, according to Crouch.
''I feel like I've grown up more as a man,'' he said. ''I've learned a lot about myself through the process, who I am and how important football is to me. When something you love like football is taken away from you, you sit back and reflect.''
Smith has said Crouch is Illinois' quarterback, but he also wants to take a look at his depth at the position.
''We need to see what we have behind him as much as possible also,'' Smith said. ''It's what we're trying to get from the spring.''
George is trying to show why he should get a chance to compete with Crouch for the starting job. He threw for 470 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions in five games last season.
For now, Davis is looking to make the most of the opportunity. Maybe he'll be playing another position when the team hits camp over the summer, but he is focused on the present.
''I just go out there and play football the way I've always played football,'' Davis said. ''I don't think about the spotlight; I just want to help my team be successful.''
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