Illini's Chandler Whitmer to transfer
Illinois redshirt freshman quarterback Chandler Whitmer is transferring to Butler County (Kan.) Community College to continue his career.
Whitmer redshirted this season and was expected to compete with freshman quarterback Miles Osei as the backup to redshirt freshman starting quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase next season. Whitmer arrived in Champaign as a highly-touted recruit after being an all-state quarterback and ESPNChicago.com all-area selection out of Downers Grove South (Ill.) High School.
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"Nate was the guy this year, and I was told I would be the backup next year and see good playing time," Whitmer said. "I don't want to be a backup for three years. If [Scheelhaase] happened to be a junior, I would definitely have stayed and taken my turn and waited it out. It was something that had to happen. We had three quarterbacks on the roster, and we're all freshmen. We're all very competitive and ready to play."
Whitmer said he has no gripes with Illinois or coach Ron Zook.
"I don't have any regrets in going there," Whitmer said. "There were nothing but great things that came out of it. A lot of kids transfer because they hated it or whatever. For me, it was personally something I had to do and get a fresh opportunity to play.
"It was tough. My parents live 2½ hours from the school. I've been really committed to Illinois for two years now. I stayed committed through some coaching changes. It's tough giving up a great opportunity. I have to do what makes me happy."
Whitmer had interest from Washington shortly after he decided to transfer, but opted to go the junior college route to be able to play next season. He plans to play one season at Butler County and then transfer to another Division I program. He has four years of playing eligibility remaining.
"I'm going to be [at Butler County] for a year, and I know a lot of quarterbacks who are doing that as of late," Whitmer said. "I'll be able to get more and more repetitions. It's a good opportunity for me. I think it's a great opportunity to move and find a new style that fits me better than what we were doing.
"I'm looking for a more pro style with play action and bootlegs, drop under center and shotgun. I'm able to run, but I'd like to be a part of a pro style."
Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.