Furman dismisses pair from team

Greenville, SC ( - Furman's football program has lost two starters from its defending Southern Conference co-championship squad with the dismissal of defensive back Jairus Hollman and center Eric Thoni.

The university said Friday the pair violated team and university policies.

Hollman, from Atlanta, would have been an All-American candidate this year after making the SoCon media all-conference second team as a junior a year ago, when Furman earned a share of the conference title with Chattanooga and Samford.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder was a disruptive force for opponents, garnering 112 tackles, including 11.5 tackles for loss, seven pass deflections, three interceptions and three forced fumbles.

He blocked a potential game-winning 24-yard field goal with 18 seconds remaining in a 21-20 win over Presbyterian. He also returned a punt for a school-record 90 yards for a touchdown and scored on a 34-yard interception return in an FCS playoff win over South Carolina State.

Thoni, from Orlando, Fla., started in 21 games at center over the past two seasons. He would have been a redshirt junior this season.

Paladins coach Bruce Fowler said Thoni will attend Furman in the 2014-15 school year but not participate in the football program, while Hollman will not return to the university.

Furman also announced a pair of future football games with Elon, which is leaving the Southern Conference for the Colonial Athletic Association this year. The two teams will meet at Furman on Sept. 9, 2017 and then at Elon on Sept. 8, 2018.

Furman owns an 11-6 series lead.

Furman, which finished with an 8-6 record last year, will kick off its 2014 season on Aug. 30 at home against Gardner-Webb.