A recent update to the UConn Football roster revealed that tight end Billy Williams and cornerback Javon Hadley have departed from the program.
Williams was a question mark ever since Bob Diaco made an appearance on a sports radio show in Knoxville, Tennessee, Williams’ hometown. When asked about the Northern Iowa transfer, winner of Scout Team Player of the Year at last season’s awards banquet, Diaco stated that his status was uncertain due to a “life transition.”
Williams was one of two players listed at the F position- a hybrid tight end/H-back type role which incoming freshman Jay Rose will be coming in at as well. With Williams out of the picture, the door is open for Rose to see some playing time as a true freshman.
The other player at the F on the roster is Zordan Holman, who redshirted last year despite being on the two-deep depth chart for a good chunk of the 2015 season. Tommy Myers played some F last year as well, and will likely see more time in that role this season as well.
Hadley’s departure is certainly more surprising than Williams’s, as the redshirt senior provided solid depth in the secondary for the past three seasons. The Florida native played in nine games last year, notching eight tackles and one pass break-up. He appeared in ten games across the previous two seasons and had also been a solid special teams contributor. He was actively competing for the nickel corner role but that job will be going to someone else now.
Behind established starters Jamar Summers and Jhavon Williams, UConn has four other cornerbacks on the roster—one of those, Nick Vitale, is mostly a special teams player and another is Tre’ Bell, a transfer from Vanderbilt who is sitting out this season per NCAA rules. Does that leave redshirt freshman John Robinson IV and redshirt junior John Green as the leading candidates for the nickel corner role? Maybe, but there are others.
Safeties Brice McAllister and Aaron Garland could flex into nickel roles, as both were listed at cornerback on last year’s roster. McAllister has caught the eye of the coaching staff and received public praise from Diaco since moving over from running back and Garland was one of the highest-rated players in UConn’s 2015 recruiting class who played a lot of corner in high school.
Diaco will be joined by seniors Obi Melifonwu, Andreas Knappe, Noel Thomas, and Matt Walsh at AAC Media Day Tuesday in Newport.
As of this morning, the roster was updated showing that DL David Ryslik and WR Frank Battle are no longer with the program as well. Both players were recruits of the class of 2015, with Ryslik being a 3-star recruit. During practices last season, he played with the second-team defense, but did not appear in any games. Both players were promising prospects who had drawn praise from the coaching staff during their first season in Storrs.