It appears the door to one member of Texas’ 2017 recruiting class arriving in Austin this summer has opened a little wider.
In late February, Reese Leitao was arrested at his Oklahoma high school on a charge of possession/delivery of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to sell within a thousand feet of a school, a felony. Tuesday, the Austin American-Statesman is reporting, Leitao pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drug possession charge.
As part of the plea agreement, Leitao received a four-year deferred sentence; provided he stays clean during that time, the charge will be wiped off his record. The American-Statesman writes that, “[a]ccording to Leitao’s attorney, Leitao has ‘some probationary work,’including speaking engagements at schools, and will be under the supervision of the district attorney.” A $1,000 fine was part of his punishment as well.
The ball is now in the hands of first-year UT head coach Tom Herman as to whether Leitao will have a football future with the Longhorns.
“I’m happy,” the attorney, Allen Smallwood, told the newspaper. “Hopefully the University of Texas will be happy.”
At the time of Leitao’s arrest, a statement attributed to Herman said that “[w]e’re collecting information, will talk to Reese and his family, let the legal system run its course and then address it further at the appropriate time.” As of this posting, the university has yet to publicly address the development.
Leitao was a three-star 2017 signee, rated as the No. 19 tight end in the country and the No. 8 player at any position in the state of Oklahoma.
After surprisingly announcing in late April that he would be transferring from Texas Tech, Jonathan Giles revealed a week ago his Top 10 list for potential landing spots. Over the weekend, he had whittled that list down to three.
Monday evening, he whittled it down to one.
On his social media accounts, Giles revealed that he has decided to further his education at LSU and continue his collegiate playing career with the Tigers. The wide receiver’s other finalists were Florida State and Oregon.
Those in the Top 10 that were under consideration included Georgia, Louisville, Ohio State, Purdue, SMU, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
Giles won’t be of immediate help to the Tigers’ passing attack as he will have to sit out the 2017 season, but he’ll still have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2018.
The 5-11, 184-pound Giles led the Red Raiders in receptions (69), receiving yards (1,158), receiving touchdowns (13) and yards per catch (16.8) as a true sophomore last season. However, he exited spring practice earlier this year second on the depth chart, which triggered his decision to leave Lubbock.
The Duke Blue Devils are all in on David Cutcliffe despite coming off a losing regular season for the first time since 2011. The Blue Devils announced a contract extension that will carry through the 2010 season. The contract is set to expire on June 30, 2021.
Terms of the contract other than the length have not been disclosed. Cutcliffe was paid $2.3 million by Duke last year, according to the USA Today contract database.
“Simply put, Duke University is terribly honored and very proud to have one of the truly pinnacle football coaches in the country leading the Blue Devil program into the next decade,” Duke Vice President and Director of Athletics Kevin White said in a released statement. “To be sure, what Coach Cutcliffe has accomplished over nine seasons at Duke is nothing short of extraordinary! With David’s innovation, vision, passion, not to mention well-seasoned expertise, our student-athletes will continue to enjoy, both academically and athletically, the very best – actually the ‘gold standard’ – experience within the broader enterprise that is college football.”
Cutcliffe took over as Duke’s head coach in 2008. Prior to Cutcliffe’s hiring, Duke had played in just two bowl games since 1961, one of which was coached by Steve Spurrier. While there are more bowl games today than ever before, that should not take away from Cutcliffe managing to get the Blue Devils to four straight bowl games from 2012 through 2015 before having a struggle in 2016 with just four wins. Cutcliffe has also coached Duke to the ACC Championship Game (2013). Despite the step back in the win total for the third straight year, nobody doubts Cutcliffe is the right man for the job in Durham.
Whoever is responsible for the social media content and Pr work at Oklahoma State may have just gotten to work after watching “National Treasure” or “Indiana Jones,” because the teaser for a Heisman Trophy campaign for quarterback Mason Rudolph needed a decoder ring to figure things out.
I did not spend time trying to figure this one out, although I had a slight hunch. Thankfully, others on Twitter were able to crack the code shared by Oklahoma State on Twitter. Each letter in the message is two letters of the alphabet removed from the intended letter. Once you work through the secret message, you unveil the message “Mason Rudolph for Heisman.”
And there you go. The Heisman Trophy campaign season is officially underway in Stillwater. This year’s Heisman race should be a fun one with a number of talented players returning to the field this season, including Rudolph. When Bovada released their Heisman Trophy odds in late February, Rudolph was given a 14/1 shot to become Oklahoma State’s second Heisman Trophy winner in school history, joining Barry Sanders.
Rudolph passed for 4,091 yards and 28 touchdowns with just four interceptions.
With Tom Herman now running the Texas offense, tight end is going to be an added emphasis for the Longhorns moving forward. This created an immediate problem for the 2017 club, considering the last Longhorn tight end to produce a prolific full season was Jermichael Finley, who last caught an NFL pass in 2013.
Herman rectified that by signing Reese Leitao, a 4-star tight end out of Tulsa, in February. (The Longhorns also added Cade Brewer, the brother of former Texas Tech and Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Brewer and son of former Texas quarterback Robert Brewer, as added depth.)
However, Leitao was arrested in February on charges of dealing drugs. So the tight end position became a problem again.
On Sunday, Syracuse graduate transfer Kendall Moore announced his intention to be the solution to that problem by committing to Texas. “Officially a Longhorn,” Moore stated on the Instagram post revealing his pledge. “Happy to call Texas my new home.”
As a senior in 2016, Moore appeared in 12 games but caught just one pass for 15 yards. He received four passes for 31 yards and a touchdown in 2014. A native of Chicago, Moore’s best season as a Orange was his first, registering 12 appearances with six catches for 65 yards in 2013. He is eligible to play for Texas thanks to a medical redshirt he received after missing nine games due to injury in 2015.
Though Moore’s stats may not immediately remind anyone of David Thomas, he may jump to the front of the line among UT’s tight ends. As Chip Brown notes for Horns Digest, Leitao has a felony hearing April 18 in Oklahoma, returning starter Andrew Beck is coming off a broken foot, Garrett Gray moved to wide receiver, Peyton Aucoin has battled a shoulder injury this spring and Brewer is a true freshman looking to bulk up to a Big 12 weight. Beck led the position last year with four grabs for 82 yards and two touchdowns.