Gazette's UMass Winter Football Notebook - UMass Athletics

Gazette's UMass Winter Football Notebook

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In the Daily Hampshire Gazette, Matt Vautour has an update on the UMass football team as school began on Tuesday in Amherst.

University of Massachusetts football coach Kevin Morris said the players the Minuteman coaching staff is recruiting have heard all the rumors. They know that UMass is exploring the possibility of an upgrade to Bowl Subdivision football.

But Morris said until a decision is officially announced, the coaching staff is being careful not to oversell that potential to players they're recruiting.

Potential football upgrade at UMass not yet yielding recruits

University of Massachusetts football coach Kevin Morris said the players the Minuteman coaching staff is recruiting have heard all the rumors. They know that UMass is exploring the possibility of an upgrade to Bowl Subdivision football.

But Morris said until a decision is officially announced, the coaching staff is being careful not to oversell that potential to players they're recruiting.

"It's hard because there hasn't been an official announcement," Morris said. "You don't want to be a used-car salesman. When we recruit, we're very straightforward. Right now we know who we are, but we're not sure who we might be."

Morris said that while the rumors have increased interest, he and his staff haven't been enough to convince most FBS caliber athletes to choose UMass.

"Word is out and it's helped us get a lot of interest, and the national recognition of the school has gotten even greater with the potential move. But in the end, breaking through on some of the student athletes isn't showing yet, because we haven't made the announcement official," he said. "The Division I (FBS) kids are still going Division I and most of them have made their choices and we haven't been able to break that barrier with this particular class because we can't tell the kids flat out that we're Division I."

National Letter of Intent signing day is Feb. 2.

Morris said if UMass does decided to move from the Championship Subdivision to the Bowl Subdivision, he'll be ready. He's been preparing and researching what steps he and the coaching staff would take so they'll be able to hit the ground running.

"It's been an ongoing research project. We want to make sure we're fully prepared so we can maximize every opportunity we have," he said. "All indications look like we're still going that way and we're excited about the potential change. We think we're headed in that direction. Everybody is excited about the potential challenges that lay ahead."

PROFESSIONAL INTEREST? - Morris said that at least four of his graduating seniors have had interest from NFL scouts. Wide receiver Anthony Nelson, running back John Griffin, offensive lineman Greg Niland and quarterback Kyle Havens have all hired agents and will likely work out for teams in the spring.

"They all have some representation. They're all excited about working out and getting ready," Morris said. "I don't think any of them project as a draft pick as far as what the scouts are saying. But we're just trying to get them into a camp."

Morris said the recent success UMass players have had making NFL rosters as undrafted free agents has increased interest in the current players.

"But because of the success these guys have had, they'll come to our place and take a look," Morris said. "They know the kids will come in and work hard and are mentally tough kids."

HEALTH - Morris said that redshirt freshman Giddens Rateau and freshman Dominic Wooten, both had shoulder surgery after the season, but he expected both to be ready for spring practice.


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