Off-Season News and Notes

We update the position status of a player or two, discuss some who might leave the program, and offer an idea of some freshmen who could provide an early impact...

With the offseason in full swing, we thought we'd compile a list of news and notes we've gathered over the last few weeks to help tide you over until summer camp begins.

*As we reported several weeks ago, defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa will almost certainly redshirt this season after undergoing surgery on his other hip this week. Odighizuwa was slotted in as a potential starter, so his absence does present some issues for the defensive line, as we went over in the defensive line review from spring practice. Thankfully, Odighizuwa still has a redshirt year to burn, and, barring unforeseen events, will return in 2014.

*We've heard from some within the program that Ellis McCarthy has a very good chance of overtaking the other competitors for the starting nose tackle position, despite not participating in team drills this spring. It's clear that he has made some significant strides in terms of his physique, and assuming his play is as improved, we could easily see him starting at nose against Nevada.

*We've heard that it's being considered Jeremy Castro, would move from linebacker to defensive end. Castro, who saw his first action on the field this spring after greyshirting, tried out at linebacker but didn't look comfortable moving in space. He might be a bit of a tweener in this defense, but we'll see how his body goes when he starts to pack on weight. Right now, he's probably in the 245 range, and he'll likely need to add another 15 pounds, at least, to get to where the coaches would want him.

*Incoming inside linebacker Isaac Savaiinaea has made strides getting back into shape after struggling with his weight during his senior season. We've heard that he's shown some pretty significant dedication in terms of both diet and workouts, and could be closer, physically, to 230 than the 250 or 260 he played at this past year. There's an expectation that he'll compete for, and win, one of the two backup spots on the inside.

*As expected, there are some offensive linemen that could leave the program with the seven linemen coming in this fall. Possible candidates to transfer would be Kody Innes, Will Oliver and Carl Hulick. There will almost certainly be some additional attrition as players fall further down the depth chart.

*We heard during the spring that T.J. Millweard could also take a look around if Jerry Neuheisel is once again ahead of him on the depth chart. Judging from the play of each during the spring, we'd give the leg up to Millweard in the competition, but it'll be interesting to see how this plays out in the fall.

Cornerback Marcus Rios sat out all of spring practice with a severe fungal sinus infection. He had undergone six surgeries since last fall, and it was thought he could need more, but the most recent news is that he will not need additional surgery. He could possibly be able to play this fall, even though the chances are remote. Rios' condition is a very rare one, and very serious, with the infection settling behind his eye, and many previous patients with the affliction having died.

*The coaches are very high on incoming safety Tyler Foreman, to the point where some are expecting that he could come in and start immediately, potentially over fellow classmate Tahaan Goodman.

*Running back Craig Lee has a good chance of getting admitted to UCLA if he can maintain his grades through the end of the school year. We've heard from some coaches in the west that they'd take Lee, if he were in 2014, over Oakley (Calif.) Freedom running back Joe Mixon. Before we knew about his academic issues, we thought Lee would have a chance to start this season, and we still think he'll play a significant role in the competition.

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