Three linemen change verbal commitments

Updated: January 13, 2005, 11:54 AM ET
Associated Press

Wyoming: Three football recruits -- two offensive linemen and one defensive lineman -- have reneged on verbal commitments to Wyoming.

Curt Puckett, a 6-foot-4, 285-pound offensive lineman from Coweta, Okla., has decided he will sign with Tulsa instead of Wyoming after visiting the Tulsa campus this past weekend, according to the Laramie Boomerang. Coweta is located just oustide of Tulsa.

Puckett, a first-team all-state selection by the Oklahoma Coaches Association, had committed to Wyoming in November.

In addition, two other linemen -- Soli Lefiti, a 6-5, 255-pound defensive end from Palomar College, and Derek Meyer, a 6-5, 260-pound offensive lineman from Silver Lake High School in Roseland, Neb. -- said they had backed off from their earlier verbal commitments to Wyoming.

Lefiti is now headed for Utah and Meyer for Kansas State.

The three defections leave Wyoming with five open scholarships leading up to the national signing date on Feb. 2.

Illinois: Mike Locksley, the running backs coach and recruiting coordinator for two seasons under Ron Zook at Florida, joined Zook's new Illinois staff on Wednesday as offensive coordinator.

Locksley replaces Larry Fedora, who was set to move with Zook to Illinois but decided last week to become offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State.

"I'm incredibly excited that Mike will be joining me at Illinois," Zook said. "I can say undoubtedly that he is one of the rising stars in this business. He was next in line for the coordinator position at Florida."

Before joining Zook at Florida, Locksley spent six years as running backs coach at Maryland. He also coached at Army, Pacific and Towson, his alma mater.

Brigham Young: Brigham Young defensive back Greg Lovely will transfer, the school announced.

Lovely, who has two years of eligibility remaining, is the third Cougar this week to announce he is leaving, joining offensive lineman Ofa Mohetau and defensive back Billy Skinner, who was suspended last month after an honor code investigation.

New coach Bronco Mendenhall said Wednesday he has been meeting with players since he was promoted to replace Gary Crowton last month and outlining what will be expected of the Cougars under the new administration.

"With the increased accountability and discipline I'm asking for, I think it's best to be open with that from the front end," Mendenhall said Wednesday. "My attempt isn't to run out and eliminate players. My intent is to clearly define the expectations."

Mendenhall said more transfers were possible, but didn't know if any other Cougars were planning to leave.

Lovely transferred to BYU from Foothill (Calif.) Junior College and played in eight games last season on special teams and defensive back. His brother, Gary, is a linebacker with the Cougars.

Mohetau started eight games at guard as a freshman in 2003, then redshirted last season. Skinner also redshirted last season.

Skinner is scheduled to appear in court next week on a charge of dealing harmful material to a minor related to an alleged rape last summer.

New name for Charlotte's game
Charlotte's college football bowl game is changing sponsors but retaining an automotive theme -- the Continental Tire Bowl became the Meineke Car Care Bowl on Tuesday.

Meineke, a muffler installer, has a three-year contract to sponsor the bowl. The game matches a Big East team against one from the ACC and is played at the home of the NFL's Carolina Panthers.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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