Gazette Story On Football Transfers - UMass Athletics

Gazette Story On Football Transfers

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The Daily Hampshire Gazette has a story on UMass' football additions at mid-year.

The University of Massachusetts football program has added five midyear additions, including a highly-recruited running back and a new entrant into the starting quarterback competition. The group includes three transfers from Bowl Subdivision schools, one junior college transfer and one prep school player enrolling early.

UMass football adds five midyear players, including quarterback

The University of Massachusetts football program has added five midyear additions, including a highly-recruited running back and a new entrant into the starting quarterback competition. The group includes three transfers from Bowl Subdivision schools, one junior college transfer and one prep school player enrolling early.

Kellen Pagel, the son of longtime Cleveland Browns quarterback Mike Pagel, transferred to UMass from Bowling Green. The 6-foot-2 passer appeared in one game in 2010 as a redshirt freshman. He completed 2 of 3 passing attempts for 20 yards and an interception.

The Strongville, Ohio native was a recruited walk-on for the Falcons.

"He's got a good live arm and good feet. He runs pretty well as well," UMass coach Kevin Morris said. "He's not like Denard Robinson or anything but he runs a little bit better than Liam (Coen) or Kyle (Havens) did. But he's still a drop-back quarterback in my mind."

He could be joined in a Minuteman backfield by Pittsburgh transfer Chris Burns, who was a four-star recruit out of Wilmington (Pa.) High School when he arrived at Pitt. In two seasons as a Panther, he rushed 32 times for 78 yards and a touchdown (against Florida International). He'll be a junior in the fall. He rushed for 2,234 yards and 38 touchdowns as a high school senior.

"With Jamar Smith coming along and Jonathan Hernandez, he gives us a guy between those guys to help shoulder the load," Morris said. "He was a really quality kid at Pittsburgh, but just didn't get a lot of time because of the All-American backs they've had."

The third FBS transfer is cornerback Ryan Campbell, who started his career at Mississippi. The 6-foot native of Columbus, Ga. gives the Minutemen a corner with some size. He'll be a sophomore in the fall.

"We're excited about him. He's a big kid who can run pretty well," Morris said. "He can come in and compete right away."

UMass has had success with FBS transfers over the past decade, but the trio of midyear additions could be the last ones to become eligible right away as Minutemen.

FBS transfers can go to Football Championship Subdivision schools and be eligible right away. But if UMass announces an upgrade to FBS football - and all signs indicate that the Minutemen will likely do that before the start of the 2011 season - any Division I transfers would have to sit out a year before being eligible.

Kyle Havens' success at UMass helped the Minutemen land another player from Diablo Valley Junior College in California as Chase Danska, a 5-foot-10 wide receiver, could help the Minutemen replace graduating receiver Anthony Nelson.

"His game is speed. They lined him up at wildcat quarterback and tailback some too. They found a lot of ways to get him the football," Morris said. "He's going to be a receiver. But it's like with Nelson, any way you can get him the football. He's that kind of guy."

The final midyear addition is Greg Hilliard, a native of Brockton who spent the fall semester at Suffield Academy. The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder is projected as a linebacker. He received only slight college interest coming out of Brockton High School, but his play at the Connecticut prep school caught UMass' attention. He'll participate in spring practice and will be a true freshman in the fall.

"He's a very mature kid," Morris said. "He's gotten a little taller and a little thicker and I think the extra year really did help him out."

The rest of the Minutemen's recruiting class will be announced Wednesday as part of National Letter of Intent Signing Day.

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