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Illinois WR McGee will also practice as QB

8/3/2010

CHICAGO -- Illinois senior Eddie McGee is officially listed as a wide receiver in the team's media guide, but he's only an injury away from being the Illini's quarterback again.

While Illinois coach Ron Zook has named redshirt freshman Nathan Scheelhaase the team's starting quarterback to start the season, Zook said Tuesday quarterback-turned-wide receiver McGee will be prepared to step in if needed.

"He's going to have to practice every day at quarterback," Zook said. "We're going to try and work through it as we get into camp and see. The good thing about Eddie is he's willing to do whatever he's asked to do."

McGee saw time as quarterback throughout his first three seasons. Last season, he started at quarterback against Michigan State and was 2-for-11 for 31 yards and an interception. For the season, he was 29-for-55 for 444 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. He also rushed for 115 yards and two touchdowns.

McGee began his transformation to a wide receiver as a sophomore and continued that into last season. He had four catches for 108 yards, including a career-long reception of 48 yards in the season finale last year.

"I'm just preparing right now at receiver," McGee said. "That's my position. That's my role. I'm preparing to do my best at that position right now. If, later down the line, coach Zook asks me to go back and take snaps, I'm fine with that, and I'll be ready to do that."

McGee could slip down the quarterback depth chart and focus more on his receiving as the season progresses. One of Zook's concerns right now is Scheelhaase's two backups are freshman Chandler Whitmer, an ESPNChicago.com all-area selection from Downers Grove South, and freshman Miles Osei, an ESPNChicago.com all-area selection from Prospect.

"That kind of becomes the $64,000 question," Zook said. "You've got to give [McGee] enough reps for him to be ready, but you have to give the other guys enough reps. It's all completely new to them."

Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at spowers@espnchicago.com.