Quarterback Brandon Peters returns to Illini
December 29, 2020
Brandon Peters will be returning to Champaign in 2021, according to an announcement on Illinois Football’s Twitter Tuesday morning. Coming in as a graduate transfer from Michigan for the 2019 season, Peters played the last two seasons at Illinois. Because of the NCAA’s extra year of eligibility rule due to COVID-19 Peters had the option to return for one more year.
Peters has had a pretty inconsistent tenure at Illinois so far. In his first year as an Illini, Peters had a solid campaign, throwing for 1,884 yards and 18 touchdowns last season, though his most impressive accomplishment was that he led the team to its first bowl game since 2014. Turnovers were an issue for the senior quarterback, however, throwing for at least one interception in seven of his 11 appearances.
After a decent 2019 campaign, 2020 has proven to be a tough year for Peters. Entering the year, many people expected Peters to potentially be a late-round draft pick if he could put together some solid numbers in the shortened season.
That certainly didn’t pan out.
Following a brutal blowout loss at Wisconsin in the season opener, a game where Peters finished with only eight completions, the Indiana native tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced to sit out for three games, leading to a quarterback carousel for Lovie Smith and the Illini.
In his first game back against Nebraska, Peters looked outstanding, throwing for 205 yards and a touchdown while also going for a score on the ground. But this was his only bright spot all year, consistently putting together subpar performances and getting the hook for redshirt freshman Isaiah Williams, who would eventually take over for him in the season finale at Penn State.
The 2021 campaign will be huge for Peters if he has any desire to get drafted following the season, but it’s unclear who will be under center under new head coach Bret Bielema and offensive coordinator Tony Petersen.