CHAMPAIGN — Linebacker Tre Watson just wants to win. Offensive linemen Gabe Megginson just wants to play.

Two Illini football players had different reasons for saying Monday they will be transferring.

Despite playing in just nine games due to a knee injury, Watson tied for third in tackles this season. He was second on the team with 102 tackles last season.

Watson is a fourth-year junior who will have one year of eligibility. The 6-2, 235-pounder from Tampa has also periodically been voted a team captain.

Watson announced his plans on Twitter. He has played for three head coaches (Tim Beckman, Bill Cubit and Lovie Smith) and said, “To say there has been turmoil is an incredible understatement yet I cherish my three-and-a-half incredible years at this University for all they have brought me.

“Moving forward I know the program is in the right hands and that they’ll continue building the pieces necessary to become consistently successful, which is going to come sooner rather than later.”

As for Megginson, he was a 4-star recruit out of Jacksonville but never found a role with the current regime and had fallen behind four freshmen who started this season.

He also announced his plans to transfer on Twitter. Megginson has two years of eligibility remaining.

This news comes on the same day five freshmen were named to the Big Ten Network (BTN.com) all-freshman team. Receiving first-team honors were tight end Louis Dorsey, defensive end Bobby Roundtree, cornerback Nate Hobbs, safety Bennett Williams and punter Blake Hayes.

Six other freshmen received honorable mention. They were offensive linemen Larry Boyd, Vederian Lowe, Alex Palczewski and Doug Kramer, wide receiver Ricky Smalling and defensive lineman Jamal Woods.

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Executive Sports Editor

Executive Sports Editor for the Herald & Review

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