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NCAA Football News and Notes

It was not too long ago that the University of Connecticut was a major player in the Big East Conference. However, with the goal of boosting their basketball program, the Huskies decided to spurn the Big East for the American Athletic Conference about a decade and a half ago. Fast forward to 2019, though, and it appears that UConn will be heading back to its former conference. While this will certainly help from both a competition and a proximity standpoint, the one major issue that remains is what to do with their football team. While the Huskies aren’t exactly dominant on the gridiron, the program exists and needs to be in a conference. The problem, though, is that the Big East does not include football, and the AAC has no desire to keep the Huskies as a football-only school. While they will likely still have to negotiate a “buyout” from the AAC (which could approach $10 million), the move seems all but inevitable. While the football program will not be disbanded, its future is far from settled.

Holloman Kicked Out Of Georgia’s Program

The 2019 season seemed like it could have been poised to be a big one for wide receiver Jeremiah Holloman and the Georgia Bulldogs. He was the leading receiver returning for Georgia after a season where he had 24 receptions for 418 yards and five touchdowns. The problem, though, is that Holloman has been accused of assault after allegedly choking and punching a woman back in April of 2018. While the victim did not report the incident initially, she eventually came forward, and Holloman had admitted to hitting her. That was enough for the University of Georgia to release him from the program. With Holloman out of the picture, Georgia will turn to a highly touted freshmen recruiting class, a class that has loads of talent but obviously does not have collegiate experience.

Fighting Illini Get A Few Transfers

After having a couple of transfers back out earlier in the offseason, the Illini have gotten some good news on a couple of transfers coming into Lovie Smith’s program. First, they likely have their starting quarterback as Brandon Peters announced Tuesday night that he is enrolling at the University of Illinois for grad school. Entering grad school and with two years of eligibility left, Peters will be able to play immediately for the Fighting Illini. While he did not play much as the third quarterback last year at Michigan, in 2017 he went 57 for 108 with 672 yards and four touchdowns.

Illinois also got commitments from a few different former USC Trojans. Wide receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe, wide receiver Trevon Sidney and defensive end Oluwole Betiku will all call Champaign home. Imatorbhebhe was the most recent to announce his transfer, and while the former four-star wide receiver never got going for USC, he will be looking for a fresh start with the Illini.

LSU Inquiry Hits Football Program

The NCAA has been looking into the payment of players and other possible NCAA violations with LSU. More specifically, there is a belief that an LSU booster not only stole money from a foundation, but he also paid upwards of $180,000 to the father of a former Tigers lineman Vadal Alexander. Between the scrutiny of the payment within the football program and the issues that the men’s basketball program has already been dealing with, this has not been a good time for the Tigers athletic program.

Brown Donates To Former School

Despite the turmoil that led to his exodus with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Antonio Brown has a soft spot within him, particularly for his alma mater. The new Oakland Raiders wide receiver donated a bit over $100,000 to get heated benches for his former football program at Central Michigan. After signing an extension with the Raiders for over $50 million, the donation is just a drop in the bucket for Brown, but it is also a very worthwhile and practical donation for the program. At least now when they are playing in the frigid winter temperatures that Michigan can offer, they can find warmth a little easier on the sidelines.

Tennessee Loses Players To Retirement

While career-ending injuries happen all the time, it has been especially alarming at Tennessee this offseason with the number of players that have retired from the game/program. The most recent retiree was freshman offensive lineman Melvin McBride. Announcing on social media, he indicated that health problems were forcing him to quit the game he loves. Beyond McBride, the Volunteers have also seen retirements this offseason from redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Eric Crosby (knee injury), linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr., and tight end James Brown. Over the last couple of years, the program has almost seen double-digit retirements due to injury in addition to some players transferring out of the program. In a program that is looking for a “facelift,” coach Jeremy Pruit certainly has his work cut out for him changing the regime, ranging from the culture of the program to the health and athletic wellbeing of its players.

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