Illini football players announce they’re transferring


Austin Yattoni

Illinois linebacker Tré Watson (33) makes a tackle during the game against Michigan State at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, November 5. The Illini won 31-27.

By Mike Gasick, Staff writer

Junior Trè Watson and sophomore Gabe Megginson announced they will not be returning to the Illini next season.

The two players tweeted their decisions, both expressing respect and gratitude toward the coaching staff and University.

Megginson was a former four-star recruit who did not receive much playing time last season, starting in only two games.

The redshirt sophomore started seven games in his freshman season but did not maintain the consistency the coaching staff was hoping he would bring.

Freshmen Vederian Lowe, Larry Boyd and Alex Palczewski all received starting roles on the line during the season.

Megginson will be eligible to play at an FCS school next season but would have to sit out if he transfers to an FBS school, per NCAA transfer rules.

“Through all of the hard times, I have always been proud to be a part of this team,” Megginson said in his Twitter announcement. “I told myself that the moment I was not all in for this program, I need to leave.”

Watson played in nine games last season, compiling 65 tackles. He will be immediately eligible to play next season, per NCAA graduate-transfer rules.

The linebacker played in 34 career games for the Illini, recording 188 total tackles and 10 tackles for loss.

Watson underwent knee surgery in October and had to miss three games.

The Florida native experienced three different head coaches and two athletic directors during his time at Illinois.

“To say there’s been turmoil is an incredible understatement,” Watson said in his Twitter announcement. “And yet I cherish every moment of my three-and-a-half incredible years at this university for all they have brought me.”

Walk-on punter Bryce Baringer also announced via Twitter that he will not return next season.

Freshman punter Blake Hayes was recently named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team.

[email protected]