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Q&A: Former Tiger O'Toole ready to tackle final season at Illinois

Reilly O'Toole enjoyed a stellar high school football career at Wheaton Warrenville South, leading the Tigers to back-to-back Class 7A state championships in 2009 and 2010 as the team's quarterback.

A highly touted prospect coming out of high school, O'Toole landed at the University of Illinois, saw immediate action as a freshman and has continued to see regular playing time for the Illini.

O'Toole, who shared the team's Rookie of the Year honor in 2011, is now prepping for his final season on campus. He recently spoke with Suburban Life sports reporter Scott Schmid about his summer, his career up to this point, and what it was like making the jump from high school to college football.

Schmid: What was your summer like?

O'Toole: I took a couple of classes so I was preoccupied with that. Then we had summer workouts, including lifting and running, and they were tough. It was important for us offensively to work with the new guys, we have a lot of younger guys. We got everybody on the same page so now we've been able to hit the ground running [in camp].

Schmid: As you await your senior year, how would you sum up your first three years at Illinois?

O'Toole: I've met a lot of great people and made some lifelong friends. Obviously it's been a couple of tough seasons and that has been tough on the field, but overall it's been a great experience. And then knowing I'm only a semester away from graduating, that makes it even sweeter.

Schmid: What are the biggest differences between playing quarterback in high school and at the college level?

O'Toole: It's a completely different game. Just the mental part, you have to be a student of the game at the college level. You can't just rely on your ability to play the game. If you know the game, that will help you out.

Schmid: What are your thoughts for the upcoming season?

O'Toole: We are really excited. Even though our wins didn't improve by that much from two years ago to last year, I think we improved a lot. We are really excited to go back out there and prove ourselves and make it into a postseason game this year.

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