Landing Larry Dennis was so important that UNLV coach Mike Sanford briefly delayed his signing day news conference in February to include the defensive end in the recruiting class announcement.
But Dennis, who originally committed to Mississippi and also was recruited by Nebraska and Kansas State, is not academically eligible.
Sanford said the chances of Dennis, rated a four-star recruit by Scout.com, playing this season were "very slim."
"It's disappointing that he didn't get it done and at the time we needed to get it done," Sanford said.
If Dennis, who had 11 sacks last year at Compton (Calif.) Community College, is forced to miss the season, he could return in January and still have two years of eligibility left. Fortunately, the Rebels recruited heavily at Dennis' position.
Joining second-team All-Mountain West Conference end Jeremy Geathers are junior college transfers Thor Pili and Luke Plante. Pili, a former Oregon signee, participated in spring drills and is listed No. 1 opposite Geathers. Plante was a junior college All-American.
The Rebels will have to wait on Plante, though. A blister on his heel became infected in the past week, and Sanford said he didn't know when Plante would practice.
• COMING HOME -- Linebacker Mark Seward -- a Bonanza High School graduate and younger brother of UNLV's all-time leading tackler, Adam Seward -- spurned the Rebels to sign with UNR in 2004.
But now Mark Seward has walked on at UNLV. He spent two years at UNR, redshirting his first season, before heading to Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, Calif.
"I just didn't get my niche up there (in Reno)," Seward said. "I always missed home."
• ODDS AND ENDS -- Defensive end Preston Brooks transferred from Washington State. He must sit out this season because of NCAA transfer rules and will have three years' eligibility left. ... Offensive lineman Dustin Forshee, a junior athletically, graduated early and left the team. ... Safety Kellen Moriarty transferred to Cal Poly. ... Freshman quarterback Omar Clayton walked on. He led Normal Community High to Illinois' Class 6A title. ... Former Rebels quarterback Shane Steichen is serving as a volunteer coach.