CHAMPAIGN — Lovie Smith didn't feel like he needed to wait any longer to announce the Illinois football team's starting quarterback.
On Tuesday, 11 days before the Illinois football team opens the season at home against Akron, Smith, Illinois' head coach, officially announced Brandon Peters as the starter.
Peters came to Illinois a graduate transfer from the University of Michigan, where he started four games in 2017 for the Wolverines and appeared in five games in 2018. He was 58-of-110 during his time at Michigan, throwing for 680 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions.
He's has taken a majority of first-team reps, especially in the last week during training camp. Last season, Smith announced that AJ Bush Jr. would be the starter on the Monday before the first game.
"We loved Brandon when we got a chance to know him during the recruiting process," Smith said in a statement. "Now that we've seen him on the field, he has been everything we though he would be. He has really thrown the ball well and is a better runner than he's given credit for. Most importantly, he has moved into a leadership role for us. We're pumped up about Brandon leading us heading into the season."
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Peters is a former four-star recruit and the No. 3 pro style quarterback in the nation coming out of high school according to 247Sports. He graduated from Michigan in three years and transferred to Illinois this summer with two years of eligibility remaining.
Offensive coordinator Rod Smith has been impressed with Peters' development throughout camp. Peters is a quiet leader, a bit of a different style than Bush last year, but Rod Smith has no concerns about Peters' ability to control the offense.
“There’s different forms of leadership," Rod Smith said. "I don’t want him to be fake. I want him to be who he is. I tell him all the time, ‘Listen, I don’t care about the labor pains, just show me the baby. However you get it done, get it done. Whatever your style is.
"If you’re not a vocal person, then outwork everybody. If you’re a vocal person, then be heard.’ There’s different ways to do this. Brandon’s not the most vocal guy, but at the same time, I’ve heard him already start making corrections with some guys or have communication with wideouts on what he thought he saw. That’s positive. He doesn’t have to be a rah-rah, cheerleader type of guy. He has to make sure he garners people’s respect, and he’s doing that."