Illini fullback Jay Prosch, who was a valuable blocking back in his two seasons with the Illini, has requested his scholarship release and planned to transfer closer to his ailing mother in Mobile, Ala., according to a published report.
CHAMPAIGN -- Illini fullback Jay Prosch, who was a valuable blocking back in his two seasons with the Illini, has requested his scholarship release and planned to transfer closer to his ailing mother in Mobile, Ala., according to a published report.
The Mobile Press-Register said although Prosch returned for the second semester at Illinois, he was given permission to talk to nearly 20 schools in the Deep South, and the list includes 11 of the 12 SEC schools, as well as South Alabama, Louisiana-Lafayette, Troy, UAB, Georgia Tech and Florida State.
Not only is Prosch wanting to get closer to his mother, Iris, who is battling brain cancer, but he was uncomfortable playing in Illinois coach Tim Beckman's spread offense that put little emphasis on a fullback, he said.
But Beckman was expecting Prosch to stay with the program, said team spokesman Kent Brown. Beckman and Prosch weren't available early Tuesday afternoon.
Defensive stalwarts Terry Hawthorne, Michael Buchanan and Akeem Spence, mentioned as players who might consider a jump to the NFL, attended the team meeting with Beckman and were enrolled in spring semester classes. Prosch also attended the meeting and told the newspaper there's a small chance he would stay with the Illini.
"It has nothing to do with the school," Prosch told the newspaper. "It's really about the coaching change, and that sparked the idea that since there's a coaching change maybe I can be closer to my mom, which would be awesome."
In phone conversations with Beckman during semester break, Prosch learned he wouldn't be a fullback in the I-formation but rather a tight end or an H back in Beckman's offense, he told the Mobile newspaper.
The only SEC school Prosch can't pursue is Arkansas, where former Illinois offensive coordinator Paul Petrino went after leaving Illinois, the report said, because Illinois didn't want to set a precedent of players following Petrino there.
With the signing day on Feb. 1, Prosch must make a decision quickly, because scholarships will get locked up.
"Ultimately, I want to be playing fullback somewhere, and I want it to be close to home,'' he said.
John Supinie can be reached at Johnsupinie@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JohnSupinie.