Football recruiting news fills the Internet bulletin boards at this time of year as players commit to schools or announce changes in their status.
For the first time in recent memory, the University of Maine will welcome two Football Bowl Subdivision transfers to Orono for the 2016 season.
Running back Zaire Williams has made the move from Temple University in Philadelphia, and defensive back DeAndre Scott has left Arizona State for a new beginning in Orono.
Both will have two years of eligibility, as players who transfer from the Football Bowl Subdivision level to the Football Championship Subdivision are not required to sit out a year under NCAA rules.
Scott and Williams also are eligible to compete in offseason workouts and UMaine’s spring season.
Unlike several other Colonial Athletic Conference opponents such as Stony Brook, Delaware and Towson, UMaine has not often brought in transfers from other four-year programs. And seldom has a Football Bowl Subdivision athlete been among them.
The last such player is believed to have been former Army tailback Paul Capriotti, who played for the Black Bears in 1991 and 1992.
Williams should provide an instant boost to the Black Bears’ running game. The 5-foot-11, 200-pounder from Sicklerville, New Jersey, left the Owls football team in October 2015 after he was moved from running back to linebacker late in training camp.
As a true freshman at Temple, Williams carried 101 times for 533 yards and three touchdowns and caught 11 passes for 128 yards. However, a back injury cost him all but one game during the 2014 season.
“Zaire is a physical, downhill running back that has great vision,” Maine head coach Joe Harasymiak said in a news release. “His ability to break tackles will provide us with the explosive plays we need. He has a great personality and will fit in with the guys in our locker room.”
At UMaine, Williams will join a group of returning veterans led by rising junior Nigel Beckford and redshirt sophomore Darian Davis-Ray.
Scott, a native of Philadelphia, heads back east after spending two seasons at Arizona State. The 5-9, 190-pounder appeared in 17 games, including seven last fall.
“Finishing out my career with college football at The University Of Maine,” Scott posted last week on his Twitter account.
Scott served as a special teams captain for the Sun Devils in 2015. He attended Imhotep Charter High School, where he made 59 tackles and posted seven interceptions, two fumble recoveries and a pair of forced fumbles as a senior in 2013.
At Imhotep, Scott was a high school teammate of Black Bears junior cornerback Najee Goode.
“DeAndre is aggressive, ball-hawking DB that can play multiple positions,” Harasymiak said. “He will provide us with versatility and experience in the back end. He is also an outstanding young man with tremendous character.”