Getty Images

Third time around, Illinois lands transfer wide receiver

3 Comments

Illinois has been on the hunt for a transfer wide receiver, and what a hunt it was. At first, Illinois secured a commitment from Miami’s Jeff Thomas, who changed his mind and returned to the Sunshine State. AD Miller then committed to Illinois, but then he decided to return to Oklahoma.

Now, in their third time at bat, Illinois has found a transfer wideout — this time from the FCS.

Richmond wide receiver Dejon Brissett has announced his intent to play for the Illini, doing so over Instagram.

“Biggest decision I’ve ever made in my life,” Brissett wrote in his post. “And proud to say that next year I will continue to play and study at the University of Illinois. Thank you to everyone who’s been there in this process, I will always be a Spider!”

A native Canadian, Brissett played at Lake Forest Academy in the Chicagoland area before signing with Richmond. He was an All-Colonial Athletic Association player in 2017 after catching 63 passes for 896 yards and seven touchdowns. He played in just three games in 2018 before suffering a broken foot, which allowed him to use that season as a redshirt and pursue a graduate transfer to the Big Ten.

He will arrive in Champaign in June and is expected to be an immediate contributor.

WR A.D. Miller reneges on Illini commitment, returns to Oklahoma

Getty Images
1 Comment

Wide receiver reneging is officially a thing in Champaign.

In late December, Illinois announced that Miami transfer Jeff Thomas had signed a financial aid agreement and would enroll at the university for the spring 2019 semester; three weeks later, Thomas returned to the Hurricanes.  Shortly before Thomas returned to The U, Illinois announced that Oklahoma graduate transfer A.D. Miller had signed a Big Ten Tender of Financial Aid and planned to enroll in classes at the university this spring; two months later, Miller has apparently had a change of heart and will return to Norman and continue his collegiate playing career with the Sooners.

As Miller never attended classes at Illinois, he’ll be eligible to play for Oklahoma in 2019, his final season of eligibility.

A three-star 2015 signee — he originally committed to Illinois before flipping to Oklahoma prior to National Signing Day — Miller started 10 games during his “first” stint with the Sooners.  The receiver made four of those starts during his redshirt junior season this past year.

The Dallas native totaled 236 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns on 21 catches during his 27 appearances with the Sooners.

Four-star 2018 WR Marquez Ezzard leaves Miami

Getty Images
1 Comment

As Miami continues to collect players with steep FBS experience, they’ve also lost a touted member of last year’s recruiting class.

In a press release sent out late Wednesday morning, Miami announced that Marquez Ezzard has decided to leave Manny Diaz‘s football program.  No specific reason for the unexpected departure was given.

That said, the speculation is that a pair of wideout developments — Jeff Thomas did an about-face and returned to Miami after signing with Illinois, Buffalo grad transfer K.J. Osborn was added earlier this month — played a significant role in the decision.

“Marquez and I talked, and we decided that it was in his best interests to pursue opportunities at another school,” the first-year head coach said in a statement. “We wish him all the best in his future plans.”

Ezzard was a four-star 2018 signee who played in three games as a true freshman, catching two passes for 24 yards.

Jeff Thomas reneges on Illinois commitment, returns to Miami

Getty Images
5 Comments

The saga that is Jeff Thomas has taken a couple of twists over the past couple of days, with the latest apparently leading him back to The U.

In late December, Illinois announced that Thomas had signed a financial aid agreement and would enroll at the university for the spring 2019 semester.  That move came a month or so after the talented wide receiver was dismissed by then-Miami head coach Mark Richt for unspecified reasons.

Richt, however, abruptly retired on Dec. 30 and was replaced by former UM defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, who had taken over as the head coach at Temple a couple of weeks earlier before abandoning the Owls.  The combination of Richt’s retirement and Diaz’s return apparently cracked the door on a future for Thomas with the Hurricanes as it was reported this past weekend that there was a possibility the receiver will return; that possibility, though, was seemingly snuffed out by Thomas himself yesterday.

“I’m on my way now,” Thomas told the Champaign News-Gazette Monday afternoon. “I’m really excited to get started at Illinois.”

A day later, Thomas is apparently no longer excited and no longer on his way to Champaign as he posted on Instagram that he is instead headed back to Miami.  Well, at least for now he is.

It doesn’t appear that Thomas ever actually enrolled in and attended classes at Illinois, which means he would be eligible to play for Miami in 2019.  Well, provided he actually sticks with this particular commitment this time around.

At the time of his departure/dismissal in November, Thomas was leading the Hurricanes in receptions (35) and receiving yards (563).  The sophomore’s 16.1 yards per reception were second on the team while his three touchdown receptions were tied for third.

Report: Illini signee Jeff Thomas could return to Miami

Getty Images
2 Comments

Well, this is certainly an interesting potential development.

In late December, Illinois announced that Jeff Thomas had signed a financial aid agreement and would enroll at the university spring 2019 semester.  That move came a month or so after the talented wide receiver was dismissed by then-Miami head coach Mark Richt for unspecified reasons.

Richt, however, abruptly retired on Dec. 30, replaced by former UM defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, who had taken over as the head coach at Temple a couple of weeks earlier.  The combination of Richt’s retirement and Diaz’s return has apparently cracked the door on a future for Thomas with the Hurricanes as Susan Degnan of the Miami Herald is reporting that there is a possibility that the receiver will return.

Thomas “has conveyed interest to the University of Miami in returning to the school,” Degnan writes; separately, she added that “[o]ne player on last year’s team said he was left with the impression that Thomas will return to the team.” Another said the idea of a return appeals to Thomas.

That said, it’s unclear what exactly are the feelings of Diaz, who will make the final decision on any Thomas return.

While Thomas signed with the Illini, if he didn’t attend classes at the university he would be eligible to play for the Hurricanes in 2019 if he comes back.  At this point, it’s unclear if Thomas ever enrolled in classes at the university.

According to the Herald, there are no legal or other issues that would preclude a return.

At the time of his departure/dismissal in November, Thomas was leading the Hurricanes in receptions (35) and receiving yards (563).  The sophomore’s 16.1 yards per reception were second on the team while his three touchdown receptions were tied for third.