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Justin Joly, Zion Turner, among the outgoing transfers for UConn football

UConn will be looking to replace a lot of talent this offseason, both in quality and quantity.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn football is looking at over 20 transfer departures from the 2023 roster, including quarterback Zion Turner, cornerback Mumu Bin-Wahad, and tight end Justin Joly, along with veteran corner Malik Dixon-Williams, who has entered the portal as a graduate transfer.

The transfer list got started early, as running backs Devontae Houston and Brian Brewton left the team within the first few games so they could redshirt to keep an extra year of eligibility. Wide receiver James Burns did not make an appearance after the USF game and is also in the portal.

Joly was one of the bright spots in UConn’s 2023 campaign as the team’s leading pass catcher, hauling in 56 receptions for 578 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The tight end initially committed to UConn because it was the only school to offer him coming out of Iona Prep in New York. He made a quick impact as a freshman with 24 catches for 288 yards in 2022 to start his UConn career.

With two years of eligibility remaining, Joly will likely take his significant talents to a Power 5 program.

Turner quarterbacked the Huskies to a 6-7 record in 2022 as a true freshman, ending in the program’s first bowl appearance since 2015. He threw for nine touchdowns and ten interceptions on the year, completing 149 of 258 passes for 1,407 yards.

Turner entered spring ball as the starter, but faced stiff competition from Ta’quan Roberson, who was named starter in 2022, and Joe Fagnano, who was eventually named starter to begin 2023. Roberson ended up as the full-time starter while Turner made two appearances off of the bench. He will likely be looking for a chance to start somewhere.

Dixon-Williams was a three-year starter for the Huskies, with 191 tackles and four interceptions through 30 games played.

Mora has been publicly supportive of the outgoing players, also noting that Joly is “about to be a pretty wealthy young man.”

Bin-Wahad transferred into the program from West Virginia before the 2023 season and started all 12 games as one of the more impressive members of the UConn secondary, allowing zero touchdowns on 290 coverage snaps per PFF.

Kicker Noe Ruelas is also set to leave the program after spending two seasons as the Huskies’ starting kicker. Ruelas made 15 of 20 field goals attempted and was responsible for 76 points in a UConn uniform. Joe McFadden has also announced that he’s transferring, so UConn is without a kicker at the moment.

Also on their way out are running back Jalen Mitchell, who saw snaps in nine games in 2023, and defensive lineman Carter Hooper, who rotated in on the defensive line and earned 14 tackles in 2023.

Jim Mora and his staff are certainly hoping the flow goes both ways, as multiple players from the FCS and junior college ranks and other FBS programs have claimed offers from UConn.

Chris Shearin, Jacob Flynn, and Yakiri Walker are also in the portal.

Shearin exits the program as a grad transfer, arriving at UConn from Mizzou. He spent two years in Storrs as one of the Huskies’ better defensive backs, netting 82 tackles, four interceptions, and 13 passes defended.

Walker was UConn’s starting center and has announced his commitment to Colorado. He took on fellow lineman Christopher Fortin in a position battle in spring and fall camp, eventually beating out the Quebec native. Walker started all 13 games at center for the Huskies and was part of an experienced offensive line that paved the way for their successful rushing attack in 2023.

Jacob Flynn came to UConn as a walk-on from Southington High School and exceeded expectations to eventually earn a scholarship from the Huskies in one of the feel-good stories of Mora’s first year as head coach.

Flynn played in all 13 games of the 2022 season but made appearances in just a handful of games in 2023, mostly on special teams.

Here is the full list, courtesy of @huskymedic on The Boneyard:

  1. RB Brian Brewton
  2. RB Devontae Houston
  3. WR James Burns
  4. DL Carter Hooper
  5. OL Dayne Shor
  6. QB Zion Turner
  7. DB Mumu Bin-Wahad
  8. RB Jalen Mitchell
  9. LS Nilay Upadhyayula
  10. TE Justin Joly
  11. DB Malik Dixon-Williams
  12. K Noe Ruelas
  13. WR Keven Clercuis
  14. WR Zach Madison (PWO)
  15. OL Yakiri Walker > Colorado
  16. LB Mark Sokk (PWO)
  17. RB Hunter Clark (PWO)
  18. WR Jacob Flynn
  19. LB Jaylen Jones
  20. DB Chris Shearin
  21. LB Maurice Wilmer
  22. OL Will Meyer (PWO
  23. K Joe McFadden