Scheelhaase (Sr. 6-3 205) was a four star recruit coming out of high school and he is in his fourth year as a starter. But he has failed to live up to expectations until recently.
Thus far this season, he has passed for a career-high 416 yards vs. Southern Illinois and for 312 yards against Cincinnati. Scheelhaase also equaled his career-high in passing touchdowns with four against the Bearcats. The Illinois QB earned week one Big Ten Player of the Week honors for his performance in the SIU matchup. Last season, he passed for four touchdowns compared to eight interceptions, but already has six scores to only one interception in two games this year.
So far for 2013, Scheelhaase could be the most improved player in college football, at least at the quarteback position. The success of Scheelhaase and the offense in the first two games may also be influenced by Illinois first year offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Bill Cubit. The new Illini OC brings 32 years of coaching experience to the table including serving as a head coach at Western Michigan for eight seasons and stints as an offensive coordinator at Stanford, Rutgers, Missouri, and Western Michigan.
The offense uses multiple sets with a lot of four and five wide receivers out of shotgun with some occasional work in I-formations. Scheelhaase can read through progressions more than previous seasons, but he still has some difficulty under center.
Illinois faces their first top 25 opponent of the season this Saturday at Soldiers Field in Chicago when they play AP No. 19 Washington (CFU No. 23).
"I think it's a phenomenal opportunity for any student-athlete to go in and say they got to play a college football game in the Orange and Blue at Soldier Field," head coach Tim Beckman said. "I know this is one of things we want to continue to do as a program because it's a unique experience, an experience that college football gives a young man... we're excited about going up to Chicago."