A Rough Week For Cougar Fans

Jarrid Williams, Lael Lockhart, Cedrick Alley Jr, Josh Jones / All photos by Mario Puente

Cougars Hit Hard By The Transfer Portal This Week

It’s been a week of bad news for UH fans and a busy one for UH compliance.

Last Thursday, fan-favorite Cedrick Alley alerted the compliance office that he wanted to enter the transfer portal. This season, Alley’s minutes were cut in half (17.9 vs 9) and it appeared that he might be the odd man out with the Coogs up against the scholarship limit. With his departure, Kelvin Sampson’s team is at the allowable 13 scholarships for next season.

Josh Jones Goes To Arizona

That same night, Josh Jones slid out of the first round and eventually fell to pick 72 in the 3rd round of the NFL Draft. The Arizona Cardinals and head coach Kliff Kingsbury were baffled that he was still on the board.

“We’re calling (Dana Holgorsen) saying, ‘What’s going on? Did he kill somebody last night? Is there something we don’t know about? What’s the issue?’” Kingsbury said in a Monday radio interview.

For Josh Jones, going to work for Kliff completes an interesting circle: Kliff played at Texas Tech while Dana Holgorsen was on the staff. Then, after retiring from the NFL, Kliff began his coaching career as a quality control coach under Dana at UH. Two years later, he replaced Dana as OC.

Brandon Jones just missed playing with Kliff at Tech but did play for Holgorsen in 2005 and 2006 while Dana was co-OC. Jones then became an offensive assistant for Tech in 2007 as Dana became the sole OC.

Since then, Brandon coached OL under former Techsters at ECU (Ruffin McNeill) and at Cal (Sonny Dykes). When Dykes was let go at Cal, Brandon went back to Lubbock to work for Kliff for two years. When Kingsbury was fired and Dana took the UH job, Brandon came to Houston to coach OL. His best player was Josh Jones.

Now, Josh has played for Dana, Brandon, and Kliff. Thankfully, Arizona could end up the perfect spot for Jones.

Baseball Departures Start To Pile Up

The NCAA’s decision to allow all spring athletes an additional year has created some interesting dynamics for many of those teams. While seniors are allowed to return, they are not guaranteed the same scholarship amount. Could that play into the reason that three contributors left the baseball team in the span of a week?

Friday night starter Lael Lockhart announced he would become a graduate transfer. In his UH career, Lael was 6-10 in 41 appearances on the mound with a 4.24 ERA. More importantly, he was UH’s Friday night starter and would likely be in the same spot next year.

Lockhart’s announcement was followed by Brayson Hurdsman and Jared Pettitte both deciding to transfer as well. Hurdsman threw 141 innings over four seasons in 62 appearances. Whitting said Brayson intends to pitch closer to Utah where he grew up.

Pettitte was injured for much of his UH career but began to get some starts in 2019. In his best career start, he went 5.1 IP against Texas Tech in Round Rock in February. Hurdsman finished the game and took the loss in 10 innings while Lockhart played 1B and went 1/3 with a walk.

Andy Pettitte told Mark Berman that Jared “just feels like he needs a new chapter in his life.”

Starting shortstop Kobe Hyland announced a few weeks ago that he was leaving.

Williams’ Decision Surprises Many

Finally, on Wednesday, Jarrid Williams shocked Cougar fans by declaring that he was going the graduate transfer route as well. Williams leaves UH with 19 starts spanning three seasons: he started two of the final 4 games in 2017, every game in 2018, and four of the first 5 games last year before an injury ended his season. He would have been UH’s starter at right tackle in 2020.

Williams had been considering a transfer since December but the coaching staff was working hard to get him to stay. This is a significant loss to an OL that lacks depth (more on the OL tomorrow). Williams began telling teammates last weekend that he was leaving.

There’s a very good possibility Williams ends up at Baylor. The school’s outside linebackers coach is Cedar Hill coaching legend Joey McGuire. McGuire won 3 state titles at Cedar Hill including back-to-back titles in 2013 and 2014.

Jarrid Williams played on both of those championship teams.

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