Houston quarterback D’Eriq King is considering leaving the team, counting this season as a redshirt and then graduate transferring elsewhere for the 2020 season. If such a move is completed, it’s believed to be a first in major college football.
King’s father, Eric King, told Mark Berman of the Fox affiliate in Houston that the move is a done deal.
However, King himself says the decision is not final.
Whether it happens or not, that such a move is being considered is a radical (and, depending on your perspective) cynical use of the new redshirt rule, passed in 2018, that allows players to compete in up to four games and still count the season as a redshirt.
Kelly Bryant did at Clemson, as did Jalen McCleskey at Oklahoma State. (Ironically, King played McCleskey, now at Tulane, on Thursday night.)
But neither of those players were starting quarterbacks. Bryant’s departure happened after he had just been demoted in favor of Trevor Lawrence.
King is Houston’s starter, and its best player. He has 36 games’ experience under his belt; only one other Cougar has thrown pass this season, freshman Logan Holgorsen. (He’s 1-of-1 for 5 yards.)
King threw for 2,982 yards and 36 touchdowns and rushed for 674 yards and 14 scores last season before missing the final portion to a knee injury. On Thursday he passed Tim Tebow to become the first player in FBS history to rush and throw for a touchdown in 15 consecutive games.
Houston is off to a 1-3 start under new head coach Dana Holgorsen, and it’s clear that the King camp doesn’t believe he’s clicking with the new coaching staff.
And while King’s decision would be treated in some corners of the college football world as a sky-is-falling scenario, it’s telling that King’s experience at Houston is chalked up as business as usual. A product of Manvel, Texas, King was recruited, signed and played his first season for Tom Herman. Herman left for Texas and was replaced by Major Applewhite, but he was fired after two seasons and replaced by Holgorsen.
It appears now that King would like a do-over on the end of his college career, and would like to do so for a coaching staff that he can actually choose to play for.