Butler sending 18 players to NCAA football programs

Butler sending 18 players to NCAA football programs

EL DORADO, Kan. - Another strong sophomore class of the Butler Grizzlies football team will be transferring to NCAA football programs across the nation.

Two Grizzlies signed letters of intent on Wednesday at a ceremony held inside the Criss Football Complex on the Butler campus. They were wide receiver Javess Blue, who signed with Kentucky of the Southeastern Conference, and defensive lineman Ufomba Kamalu, who is headed to Miami of the Atlantic Coast Conference. They join 13 sophomores who signed in December and are already at their respective four-year institutions for the spring semester. Nine of those 18 players are Kansas natives.

The SEC, Big 12, ACC and Big East are among the conferences that will add Butler transfers.

"I am very excited for the Division I opportunities that our student athletes have earned," said Butler coach Troy Morrell. "They were a great group who have worked hard each day and have enjoyed tremendous success on the field as well as in the classroom. It was a pleasure coaching these guys and it will be exciting to follow them at their next home."

The sophomores leave after compiling a record of 22-2 over the past two seasons, winning back-to-back undefeated Jayhawk Conference and Region VI playoff championships, finishing No. 2 in the final national poll each season.

Butler's outgoing transfer class will include all four starting linebackers going to Division I FBS programs. Tommy Sanders is headed to Texas A&M, Rahmon Swain will play at South Florida, Josh Kirkland will play at Syracuse and Blake Bean will play at Buffalo.

Others who signed in December included running back offensive tackle John McClure (Arkansas), running back Dreamius Smith (West Virginia), defensive back Dexter McDonald Jr. (Kansas), quarterback Billy Cosh (Houston), defensive back Torrel Saffold (South Florida), running back Derrick Thomas (Boise State), safety Max Martinez (Stony Brook), wide receiver Devin Clarke (Middle Tennessee State), safety Tate Omli (Northern Iowa), offensive linemen Jesse Ingle and Zach Burkhart (Pittsburg State), and defensive lineman Brandon Walther (Fort Hays State).

Butler has had at least 14 players transfer to NCAA football programs following each season since 1998. The Grizzlies, who have a record of 160-18 while winning 13 conference titles and five national championships in that 15-year span, have had former players transfer to programs including LSU, Florida, Michigan, Oregon, Oklahoma, Nebraska, South Carolina and Georgia. Three former Grizzlies have played in BCS national title games since 2001.