In the past two years or so, Brandon Willis has done the following: verbally committed to and decommitted from Tennessee — twice*. Signed a Letter of Intent with North Carolina in February of 2010, then requested a release from UNC six months later so that he could transfer to UCLA. Seven months later, in March of this year, Willis requested a release from his UCLA scholarship so that he could transfer back to the Tar Heels.
Unbelievably, although not exactly unexpectedly this time around given the coaching change at the school, the defensive lineman is looking to hit the transfer trifecta in less than one full year.
In a press release, UNC announced that Willis will be transferring from the Tar Heels for a second time. No reason was given for the departure, although it wouldn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out that the dismissal of Butch Davis played a significant role in the decision.
Additionally, due to the health of a grandmother he was close to, Willis was seeking a waiver from the NCAA that would’ve allowed him to play for UNC in 2011. It’s unclear if that appeal was denied and that played a role in his decision as well.
What’s also unclear is where Willis will move to next. In March of this year, after Willis announced he was transferring once again to UNC, UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel stated that his program would welcome the lineman back if his waiver wasn’t granted by the NCAA.
Willis was a member of UNC’s 2010 class, and was the No. 7 defensive end in the country according to Rivals.com.
(*Thanks to Bryan Fischer for that little recruiting tidbit)
Earlier this month, Stevie Tu’ikolovatu made the decision to transfer from Utah. Over the weekend, the defensive lineman paid a visit to Nebraska as he began the process of finding a new college football home.
Earlier this week, Tu’ikolovatu continued that process at the defending national champions.
According to the defensive tackle’s Twitter account, Tu’ikolovatu paid a visit to Alabama on Monday. While the Tide, as always, remains loaded along the line even after losing so much to the NFL draft, they could certainly use someone with the talent — and size — the 6-1, 320-pound Tu’ikolovatu possesses if the player and team find common ground.
Last season with the Utes, Tu’ikolovatu played in all 13 games, starting two of those contests. His four fumble recoveries were tied for the lead in the Pac-12 and second nationally.
All told, Tu’ikolovatu played in 25 games the past two seasons. As a graduate transfer, he’d be eligible to play immediately in 2016 whether he moves on to Alabama, Nebraska or any other FBS program.
The 2016 season will, though, be his final year of eligibility.
After just one season on The Plains, Tim Irvin will be plying his football wares elsewhere moving forward.
On his personal Twitter account Tuesday, Irvin, the nephew of former Miami Hurricanes and Dallas Cowboys receiving great Michael Irvin, announced that “it will be better for me to pursue my career elsewhere.” The 5-9, 194-pound defensive back gave no reason for his decision.
The Miami, Fla., native was a four-star member of AU’s 2015 recruiting class. 247Sports.com had Irvin rated as the No. 38 player at any position in the state of Florida and the No. 285 player overall in its composite rankings.
As a true freshman last season, Irvin played in 10 games. He started at nickel corner in games in which the Tigers opened in the nickel package.
As for potential landing spots? It’s being reported that East Carolina, Miami and Texas may be considerations.
Oklahoma has a huge season opener at a neutral field against Houston to kick off 2016 in a couple of months. Whether their top returning threat in the receiving game is on the field remains to be seen.
According to multiple media outlets, Sooners wide receiver Dede Westbrook was arrested late Monday morning on a charge of criminal trespassing. The arrest occurred in Westbrook’s hometown of Cameron, Tex.
No details of what led to the arrest have been released. An OU spokesperson said in a statement that “[w]e’re aware of it and are addressing internally.”
With Sterling Shepard off to the NFL, Westbrook is OU’s leading returning receiver.
In his first season with the Sooners, Westbrook was second on the Sooners in receptions (46) and receiving yards (743). His 16.2 yards per catch was tops on the team for those with 20 or more receptions, while his four receiving touchdowns were tied for third.
For that production, Westbrook was named the Big 12’s Offensive Newcomer of the Year.
If you had any doubts about Mark Richt‘s desire for an indoor practice facility at his new coaching home, those have officially been alleviated.
CaneSport.com first reported that, at a booster event in Chicago last week, the Miami head coach told those in attendance that he will be donating $1 million of his own money to be used toward the construction of The U’s indoor facility. Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post, citing several sources who were at the event, subsequently confirmed the Rival.com website’s initial report.
In February, Boston College announced its plans for an indoor practice facility, which left Miami as the only team in the ACC without either such a structure already built or the plans in place. While the desire for such a facility pre-dates Richt’s hiring, the former Georgia head coach has stumped for one on a regular basis since returning to his alma mater.
Richt never saw his politicking for one at his former job come to fruition, but the stumping at his new gig has seemingly helped push the idea of an indoor practice facility further down the road than it’s ever been — to the point where it’s a when, not if.
“I’m very confident it’s going to happen,” Richt said a little over a week ago. “In some ways it’s been approved, with maybe a few more hoops to jump through. I’m not sure how it all works, because every university’s different. But it’s rolling down the track really fast. I think it’s going to happen pretty quick.”
It’s believed the facility Richt and others desire would cost upwards of $20 million.