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Backup quarterback Jimmy Fitzgerald leaving Illinois

Lovie Smith on Saturday's Illinois debut: “I’m feeling exactly how you should feel. This is my first college head coaching job. It’s a really big deal to me.” (AP/Robin Scholz)

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois coach Lovie Smith says redshirt freshman quarterback Jimmy Fitzgerald is leaving the team.

Smith said Wednesday that he and Fitzgerald met Tuesday to discuss the move. Smith said the quarterback is leaving to “get a fresh start” at another school. The release did not say where Fitzgerald plans to go.

Fitzgerald said in the release that he plans to “consider other opportunities for my collegiate career.” The Champaign native came to Illinois from Centennial High School.

The move leaves three scholarship quarterbacks on Illinois’ roster: senior Wes Lunt, redshirt sophomore Chase Crouch and redshirt freshman Jeff George, Jr.