Middle Tennessee defensive lineman Justin Akins and linebacker Shalom Alvarez have been suspended by the football program as they are being investigated for alleged animal cruelty.
The alleged cruelty was seen in a Snapchat video. In it, Alvarez was allegedly seen hitting a puppy four times. The Snapchat account belonged to Akins and was reported to police by somebody who had seen the video on the social network.
According to the Associated Press, Middle Tennessee athletic director Chris Massaro said the images seen in the video were disturbing. Middle Tennessee head coach Rick Stockstill suspended the players for the duration of the investigation, which is a standard protocol. The two players will reportedly have to perform community service for local animal welfare groups.
Akins played in 13 games last season for the Blue Raiders, recording 27 tackles.
Middle Tennessee State is staying in house to fill a void at wide receivers coach. Austin Silvoy has been promoted to the coaching position after serving the 2016 season as a quality control coach for head coach Rick Stockstill.
The Middle Tennessee State assistant coaching job will be Silvoy’s first at the FBS level, although he has some coaching experience under his belt with Florida Tech of the Gulf South Conference and the University of Central Oklahoma. The year of experience with the Blue Raiders will also ensure he is familiar with the players and what he has to work with in 2017.
“Austin was with our staff last year in an off the field position and did an excellent job,” said Stockstill in a released statement. “I was impressed with his work ethic, communication skills and how he understood our offense. He will also do a great job in recruiting.”
Silvoy played college football for a Middle Tennessee rival, Troy. Silvoy played receiver for the Trojans from 2007 through 2010, catching 45 passes and six touchdowns. He was a part of five Sun Belt championship teams with Troy and hopes to bring some of that success to Middle Tennessee.
“I played against Middle Tennessee when I was at Troy and always respected Coach Stockstill and the program,” said Silvoy. “Joining his staff on a full-time basis is like a dream come true because he is one of the best in the business.”
Silvoy replaces Kez McCorvey, who was fired at the end of the 2016 season.
Middle Tennessee has three more games to play, plus a potential bowl game, but they will have to go through at least the remaining three regular season games without leading passer, Brent Stockstill. The quarterback has been knocked out for the remainder of the season with a broken right collar bone. The school announced the injury update on Monday, a day after Stockstill underwent surgery.
“He asked the doctors if he could go back in and play. The doctors said no and that it could kill him,” head coach, and Brent’s father, Rick Stockstill said. “Brent asked if anyone had ever played with a (broken collarbone) and the doctors said no. Brent asked if he could be the first. I think that just shows the toughness and competitiveness he has for this team.”
Stockstill’s season comes to an end with 2,801 passing yards and 27 touchdowns with just five interceptions this season, along with 232 rushing yards. Middle Tennessee is holding out hope Stockstill may be available for a bowl game, but first the Blue Raiders will need to know when they may be playing in the postseason.
In the meantime, Middle Tennessee will run the offense with redshirt freshman John Urzua.Urzua came in off the sideline last weekend once Stockstill left with his injury and will make his first collegiate start this Saturday.