J.J. Lollar still loves Texas Tech, but the former A&M Consolidated football star was forced to leave his dream school after the Red Raiders pulled his scholarship.
Lollar, who overcame a career-threatening eye condition to return to practice this spring, said he will transfer to Lamar after Tech's new coaching staff refused to renew his scholarship.
At the end of the spring semester, Tech coaches told Lollar that he was being cut. They said the plan had been in place since he arrived at Lubbock in January.
"It kind of sucked," Lollar said. "I was really upset about it at first because I didn't want to leave. I cut all my recruiting off as soon as Tech offered me [a scholarship]. I missed out on most of my recruiting because I didn't want to go any place else.
"I know it's a business, but for the coaching staff not to give me a chance, that really hurt."
Tech football officials could not be reached for comment.
Kliff Kingsbury was hired as the Red Raiders' head coach in December. Kingsbury, a former Tech quarterback who had been Texas A&M's offensive coordinator, replaced Tommy Tuberville, who left for the University of Cincinnati.
Last spring, Tuberville vowed to keep Lollar on scholarship after Lollar was diagnosed with an eye condition in which blood leaked into his retina and threatened his football career.
Lollar did not enroll at Tech last fall while undergoing several eye surgeries.
"I think if I would have been there last June, I would have been fine," Lollar said. "Since I came in so late, the coaching staff change kind of hurt me. Coach Tuberville told me if I never played a game he would let me stay on scholarship."
Recruited as a defensive lineman, Lollar was switched to the offensive line for spring training.
"They told me that they didn't have any offensive linemen and they needed me to play O-line," Lollar said. "I told them to teach me how to play and I'll try to be the best O-lineman you can be.
"At the end of spring, they told me that football really wasn't my thing and I needed to transfer. I told them I didn't want to transfer, but they told me they were not going to renew my scholarship because I wasn't athletically fit for what they wanted."
The 6-foot-3, 275-pounder, who was a consensus three-star prospect at Consol, considered playing in junior college as a means to re-enter the recruiting process before choosing Lamar. Although Lollar drew interest from some four-year schools, including Missouri, few had scholarships available.
"After finding Lamar, I kind of feel like it's the way God is pulling me," Lollar said. "I believe everything happens for a reason. When I was looking for other schools, it really seemed like God had only opened up Lamar and every other team that talked to me didn't have a scholarship or they were nervous because I hadn't played [last fall].
"I'm happy to be able to find a place that I love, and I love Lamar just like I love Tech. I don't want to say anything negative toward Texas Tech University. I loved it there. That was the reason I didn't want to leave."
Lollar said he will play nose tackle at Lamar, where he will be eligible to play this fall.