Illinois loses QB Jimmy Fitzgerald to transfer

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The Illinois Fighting Illini backup quarterback competition just narrowed down by one player after second-year quarterback Jimmy Fitzgerald announced his intentions to transfer from the program.

“After much thought and discussion with my family, I have decided to leave the Illinois football program and consider other opportunities for my collegiate career,” Fitzgerald said in a statement from the program. “I want to thank all the coaches I’ve played for and worked with at Illinois, including Coach Beckman, Coach Cubit and Coach Smith. My Illini teammates are an incredible bunch of guys and many will remain friends for life.

“Having grown up in this community, I’ve been a life-long fan of the Fighting Illini and it was a fantastic thrill and opportunity to wear the orange and blue. I know there are great things in the future for the Fighting Illini, but I feel this is the time for a fresh start in my collegiate career.”

With Fitzgerald no longer in the picture, the Fighting Illini will turn to either Jeff George Jr. or Chayce Crouch as the No. 2 signal-caller behind Wes Lunt.

Illinois kicks off its 2016 campaign on Saturday, Sept. 3 against Murray State.

[H/T: Saturday Tradition]

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