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Three linemen change verbal commitments

1/13/2005

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.