UMass Wednesday added a few players to its football program, including a player who is very familiar to/with its head coach and one who was once a highly-touted recruit at a skill position.
As had previously been speculated/reported, the Minutemen announced in a press release earlier in the day that, among others, quarterback Austin Whipple and running back Drew Harris were added to the roster. The former will be forced to sit out the 2014 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules while the latter will (possibly) be eligible to play immediately.
Whipple is the son of first-year head coach Mark Whipple. His brother, Spencer, serves as UMass’ tight ends coach.
In mid-June it was announced that Whipple was one of four players departing the Penn State football program. He spent the 2013 season as a walk-on who ended up taking a redshirt. He’ll have three years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2015.
It’s Harris, though, who could ultimately make the biggest impact.
The four-star recruit was rated as the No. 22 running back in the country in the Class of 2012. With offers from, among others, Arizona State, Arkansas, Georgia, Miami, Michigan State, Penn State, South Carolina and West Virginia, the Pennsylvania native signed with Virginia Tech. Unfortunately, Harris failed to qualify academically and spent 2012 and 2013 at a prep school and a New York JUCO, respectively.
There is some concern that Harris may not qualify academically at UMass, however.
In addition to Harris and Whipple, German defensive lineman Lukas Kolter and punter Brian McDonald were added to the Minutemen’s roster.
(Photo credit: Rivals.com)