Nevada has already lost two key returning starters to transfer in wide receiver McLane Mannix and safety Nephi Sewell, and that number is expected to rise to three before the offseason ends.
Gabe Sewell, a three-year starter at middle linebacker and Nephi's older brother, put his name in the transfer portal Tuesday at noon. His father, Gabriel, said it isn't 100 percent Gabe will transfer, but it's most likely that's the end result.
"I think he's leaving," Gabriel told Nevada Sports Net on Wednesday. "I'd say at this point he's leaving. Things could change. There's 2.5 months, maybe three months out, so things could change, but I think he has his heart set on seeing what the next step in life is."
Sewell is scheduled to graduate in May, which means he'd be eligible immediately to play for another FBS team next season. Sewell has one year of eligibility remaining. As a productive grad transfer, he could be a sought-after prospect on the transfer market.
"I don't know if there's one particular reason," Sewell's father said of his son's decision to transfer. " There's probably a couple of different reasons. His brother leaving is one. Maybe testing the waters. And I think they always knew they had P5 abilities and they had P5 offers before picking the Wolf Pack of Nevada."
Sewell picked Nevada over offers from Colorado, Army, UNLV and other schools in 2015. He redshirted that season before starting the last three years at Nevada. From 2016-18, Sewell had 35 starts and compiled 229 tackles, including 16 for loss. He also had 23.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and three pass breakups.
When asked in pre-bowl practice about whether he was considering a transfer following his brother, Gabe told NSN he would "play it day-by-day” at Nevada. When Nephi Sewell transferred, he said he wanted to be close to home. He initially committed to BYU before enrolling at Utah, where he will use his final two seasons of eligibility. Playing close to home is not as high a priority for Gabe, his father said. A third Sewell brother, Penei, was a freshman at Oregon last season.
"Nephi just wanted to be home," Gabriel Sewell said. "Gabe is going to have to make a choice that's the best for himself. That has to be his No. 1 motivating factor, to make the best decision for him and his future."
Sewell's father said his son is still going through winter conditioning with the Wolf Pack, which began three weeks ago, and said his son enjoyed his time with the Wolf Pack.
"I'm not going to ever speak bad about a program that gave my sons an opportunity to play college ball," Gabriel Sewell said. "They made the best of it when they were there. It just has come to a point where Gabe has fulfilled his obligation of getting his degree, which he'll obtain in May, and we'll see what else lies ahead in his future."