The college football off-season is (very) long and the Western Michigan Broncos can certainly attest to that. Leading tackler Robert Spillane announced his intention to transfer in late February and, at that time, left the football program. Before the end of April, however, Spillane is back in the fold at Western Michigan after backing off his transfer decision.
In speaking to MLive.com, Minnesota head coach Tim Lester said the following:
“We’ve been texting throughout the whole process of when he was away. I was hoping he was doing alright. He came in and I met with him and he told me he wanted to come back and join the guys and that he felt terrible about his time away.
He’s going to come in and have to earn everything he gets, just like everybody else on the team. He’s missed some opportunities and it gave opportunity for our young guys to play, which was great, and he’ll have to come in and compete and try to earn that spot back.”
Whispers reportedly continue with regard to whether Spillane was set to transfer to Minnesota in following former head coach P.J. Fleck, but that never transpired and Western Michigan is the beneficiary. While Lester undoubtedly has to couch the return in the way that he did, it would be wild to consider a scenario in which Spillane, who produced 111 tackles last season, did not hit the ground running as a key member of the WMU defense.
There are more famous transfer targets than Spillane but that doesn’t make this news any less impactful for both Western Michigan and any team that was in pursuit.