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Arrested Illini players claim dorm incident was a prank


Because of course they did.

Wednesday morning, three Illinois football players, offensive linemen Darta Lee and Howard Watkins and wide receiver Zarrian Holcombe, were arrested on charges of home invasion and armed robbery. Thursday, the trio was officially arraigned on felony charges of residential burglary and aggravated robbery.

The players, however, claimed that, according to first assistant state’s attorney Steve Ziegler, they were merely pulling a prank on the 19-year-old dormitory resident. From the Champaign News-Gazette:

Ziegler said the trio is accused of entering the room of another 19-year-old man who lived in Bromley Hall and threatening him with a pellet gun just before 1 a.m. Wednesday in what they told police was a “prank or a joke.”

“(The victim) was in bed with his door closed but not locked when three guys come into his room. They are all wearing dark clothing and they are all masked,” Ziegler said. “One of them produces what he believed to be a gun. Later he finds a BB gun on the floor of his room.”

Ziegler said from his review of a synopsis provided him by Champaign police, it’s believed that Holcombe was holding the BB gun while Lee went through dresser drawers and Watkins went through the man’s wallet, which was on a table.

“He recognizes Holcombe and Lee as residents of Bromley,” said Ziegler. “He says he calls them by name and they run out of his room. He later finds cash missing. What happens to Watkins is not clear.”

Ziegler said after the victim realized he knew two of the alleged intruders, he followed them into the hall.

“At that point, they are not wearing masks anymore so he knows it’s them,” Ziegler said.

The charges carry a mandatory prison term of 4-15 years on each count if they’re found guilty. Bond has been set at $150,000 for each player.

Lee and Holcombe, who were suspended prior to their arrests, remain suspended. Watkins has been indefinitely suspended from all team activities as well.

Lee started two of the six games he played his true freshman season last year, while Holcombe played in seven his first season with the Illini. Watkins was a three-star 2017 signee who enrolled early at the school.

Eastern Kentucky WR shot in bar dispute

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Eastern Kentucky wide receiver Cameron Catron was shot in the early morning hours of Sunday following a dispute outside a bar.

According to WKYT-TV, Catron and an unidentified man were fighting outside the Two Keys Tavern in Lexington, Ky., when the other man ran to his vehicle, returned with a gun and shot Catron. It is not known where he was shot.

The suspect, described as wearing a blue shirt with dreadlocked hair culminating in frosted tips, is still at large.

“He’s one of the biggest hearted guys I know. Whoever done that to him was just really in a bad place right now,” teammate Gunner Slone told the station.

A Belfry, Ky., native, Catron was a redshirt freshman in 2018; he appeared in two games on special teams.

Catron has already undergone two surgeries to remove the bullet and repair internal damage. A social media post by his mother indicated he is out of ICU and able to walk a short distance.

Former Ole Miss DB, Nebraska LB Breon Dixon headed to JuCo

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Breon Dixon has yet to really make a mark in college football, but his closet has become well stocked. A 4-star prospect out of Suwanee, Ga., Dixon signed with Ole Miss and enrolled in January of 2017, but left quickly thereafter.

Given a waiver to play immediately as part of the Hugh Freeze explosion, Dixon was enrolled at Nebraska within 365 days of originally enrolling at Ole Miss. He appeared in four games on special teams for the Huskers this season, but by this spring he was no longer a Cornhusker, either.

In May, the Omaha World-Herald contacted Iowa Western Community College head coach Scott Strohmeier, who said Dixon would become a Reiver. Now, Dixon has confirmed that himself.

He is expected to enroll in classes in July and compete for IWCC this fall, with the expectation he’ll look for another four-year university in the winter. Strohmeier told the World-Herald he didn’t expect Dixon to re-enroll at Nebraska, meaning the player could be looking for a fourth school in as many years come 2020.

Ex-Arizona State, Ohio State DE Darius Slade now enrolled at USF

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It appears Darius Slade has found himself yet another college football home.

In early February, it was confirmed that Slade had taken the first step in moving on from Arizona State by placing his name into the NCAA transfer database. A little over four months later, it’s now being reported that the defensive end is enrolled at South Florida.

For what it’s worth, a USF official declined to confirm Slade’s addition to the roster and the lineman isn’t yet listed on the football program’s online roster.

Slade, who originally began his collegiate career at Ohio State before transferring and landing at ASU prior to the start of the 2017 season, played in 10 games in 2018 after sitting out the previous year to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.

As a graduate transfer, Slade would be eligible to play for the Bulls immediately in 2019.

Louisville adds Marshall’s leading sacker as grad transfer

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On the same day we noted an addition to Marshall’s roster, there’s been a development regarding one of the football program’s personnel subtractions earlier this offseason.

Utilizing his personal Twitter account, Ty Tyler (pictured, No. 1) announced that he is “honored and overwhelmed to announce I am committed to [the] University of Louisville.” Earlier this offseason, the defensive lineman opted to enter his name into the NCAA transfer database after four years with the Thundering Herd.

As Tyler will be coming to the Cardinals as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately for the school in 2019. The upcoming season will serve as the lineman’s final year of eligibility.

This past season, Tyler led the Thundering Herd with eight sacks and tied for second on the team with nine tackles for loss. He leaves Huntington having been credited with 15.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in 35 career games, 20 of which were starts.