- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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With spring practice well underway, it is time to check in on some of the transfers that have stood out so far.
Early indications point to UConn as potentially getting some major help from transfers. Here are three that already have made an impact for the Huskies:
Shakim Phillips, receiver: Phillips transferred from Boston College, and already has stood out for his ability to make some big plays. That is an area that must be improved for the Huskies, who have lacked a receiver to stretch the field the past several seasons. “I’m here to make plays. That’s why the coaches brought me here,” Phillips told Chip Malafronte of The New Haven Register. “If they need a big play, I got to be that guy if they call my number.”
Chandler Whitmer, quarterback: Receivers need a consistent quarterback, and that has been lacking at UConn. Enter junior college transfer Whitmer, who has shown a solid arm and good accuracy so far during camp as he battles for the starting job.
Alex Mateas, center: The UConn offensive line was uncharacteristically mediocre last season, and now the Huskies must find a way to replace first-team center Moe Petrus. Mateas, a transfer from Penn State, has worked with the first team at center this spring, and seems a logical choice to step into the starting lineup.
And a few others:
Ray Vinopal, safety, Pittsburgh: When the Panthers send out their practice reports, Vinopal's name shows up without fail. So far, he has had one of the best spring practices of any Pitt player. In the most recent practice, Vinopal had an interception. In practice Tuesday, he had two. Watch out for him to move into a starting job opposite Jarred Holley.
Fidel Montgomery, cornerback, USF: Montgomery transferred from junior college, and so far has worked at cornerback and safety. There is one open starting cornerback spot, and there is no question the Bulls are going to want some significant contributions from him this season.
R.J. Dill, offensive line, Rutgers: Dill transferred from Maryland, and is eligible to play immediately for his final season. Though he is listed as competing for a backup job at right tackle, he has the most starting experience of any player on the Rutgers roster, having made 30 starts with the Terrapins. Rutgers has only had two practices, but coach Kyle Flood already said Dill looks like a good player.
Ryan Hubbell, tight end, Louisville: Hubbell transferred from junior college, and has been enrolled since January. At 6-foot-5, he brings good size to the position, and so far has really stood out during spring practices in the race to replace Josh Chichester. Gerald Christian, a transfer from Florida, has looked good as well, but he has to sit out this season because of NCAA transfer rules.
Keep an eye on these two guys once fall practice rolls around:
Kevin Newsome, Temple: He transferred after an inconsistent career at Penn State. Though Chris Coyer is the apparent incumbent, coach Steve Addazio wants to find a way to get Newsome on the field. Quarterback depth is a question for the Owls, so his addition definitely helps.
Bryce McNeal, UConn: Another receiver transfer, McNeal comes from Clemson, and should really help improve this position.