A couple of months before the start of summer camp, Nebraska is in the market for some interior line help.
According to a report from HuskerOnline.com, Stevie Tu’ikolovatu visited Lincoln over the weekend as he continues his search for a new football home. Tu’ikolovatu had decided very recently to transfer out of the Utah football program.
Tu’ikolovatu would provide immediate help to the ‘Huskers as he would be coming in as a graduate transfer.
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.
Yes, two Utes. Happy? Feel better?
Back in February, Delshawn McClellon announced on Instagram that he had decided to transfer out of the Utah football program. Fast-forward two months and another player from the same positional group has taken to social media to announce a change, with Monte Seabrook confirming on his personal Twitter account that he too is transferring from the Utes.
It’s believed Seabrook’s decision was triggered by a desire for a better opportunity at playing time.
Seabrook began his career with the Utes as a defensive back before moving on to running back and ultimately settling in as a receiver. After playing in eight games as a true freshman, Seabrook didn’t see the field at all in 2015.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Utah’s coaching staff is helping Seabrook find a new program with which to continue his career.
The strength of Utah the past couple of seasons has come on defense and in the running game. That recipe may not be too much different this fall, but the Utes are looking to balance things out offensively and get the passing game to pick up some of the slack. Following Utah’s spring game on Saturday, head coach Kyle Whittingham noted the offense could have a slightly different look this upcoming season.
“It’s not a 30-carry a game Devontae Booker situation,” Whittingham said, referring to the bulk of the offense placed in the hands of Utah’s leading rusher a year ago. “We’re going to spread the ball around a little bit more.”
Utah’s spring game showed more wrinkles from the passing game as the Utes look to replace Travis Wilson. Junior Brandon Cox, JUCO transfer Troy Williams (a former four-star recruit at Washington) and freshman Tyler Huntley continue to make their case for the starting nod, although Williams is believed to be the eventual pick. Williams has missed a big chunk of the spring due to injury, giving the others some extra snaps in the spring. Finding stability at the quarterback situation will be essential, at least until Utah finds a running back ready to step up and take on the leading role the way Booker previously did. For now, it appears Joe Williams may be the most likely to take on the bulk of the rushing attempts in the fall. He is certainly thinking and talking like the job is his to lose.
“Going into this spring ball, that was my mentality,” Williams said. “I’ve got the mentality that it’s my job and I’m not going to let anyone take it.”
Running backs coach Dennis Erickson said Williams and Troy McCormick will each see playing time in the fall, and both could be on the field at the same time.
Utah’s running game ranked fourth in the Pac-12 last season with 183 rushing yards per game and an average of 43.92 rushing attempts per game. Devontae Booker was responsible for 26.8 rushing attempts per game and 126.1 rushing yards per game. Quarterback Travis Wilson was the team’s second-leading rusher as well.
In May of 2015, the SEC announced that it had enacted a rule that would bar conference schools from accepting transfers who had been disciplined for “serious misconduct” at that student-athlete’s previous institution, with “serious misconduct” defined as sexual assault, domestic violence and sexual violence. Nearly a year later, a fellow Power Five member is taking a similar tack.
Saturday, the Pac-12 announced that its presidents and chancellors — the Pac-12 CEO Group — have “approved a policy prohibiting [future transfers] from receiving athletic aid or participating in athletics if the transfer student-athlete is unable to re-enroll at a previous institution due to student misconduct.” For the purpose of this new policy, “student misconduct” is defined as “assault, harassment, academic fraud, and other violations of campus behavior conduct policies.”
The policy further stipulates that “[i]t will not apply to academic performance reasons unrelated to misconduct.”
As part of this new policy, transfers into any Pac-12 institution in any sport will be required to self-disclose whether they would be eligible to re-enroll at the university from which they are transferring. It will be up to each member institution to institute an appeals process for those potential transfers who are deemed ineligible under the new policy.
The conference itself will not play a role in handling appeals.
“This is an important step to strengthen our student-athlete transfer admission processes and to address the safety of our students,” said UCLA chancellor and CEO Group president Gene Block.
Another day, another senior deciding to use his final season of eligibility elsewhere.
The latest to do as much is Delshawn McClellon, who took to Instagram Tuesday to confirm that he has decided to leave Utah and finish his collegiate career at an undetermined locale. While the wide receiver gave no reason in the post for his decision, it’s likely based in part at seeking a better opportunity for more playing time.
McClellon will be leaving the Utes as a graduate, meaning he could play immediately in 2016 if another FBS school is his next stop.
You have been good to me Utah, met some real people and created great memories over the past four years. Couldn’t be more thankful for them helping me out with my situation years back. Crazy to think I’ll be suiting up with someone else next season but, I got to do what’s best for me.
“You have been good to me Utah, met some real people and created great memories over the past four years,” the receiver wrote on the social media website. “Couldn’t be more thankful for them helping me out with my situation years back. Crazy to think I’ll be suiting up with someone else next season but, I got to do what’s best for me.”
McClellon, who’s listed in his official bio as Utah’s fastest player (4.37 40), played in 31 games the last three years after redshirting as a true freshman. The California native finishes his Utes career with eight receptions for 110 yards.