The Longhorns don’t have a lot of depth at the tight end position, and that depth just got thinner as redshirt freshman tight end Peyton Aucoin announced on Twitter on Friday that he is transferring from the program.
Despite the depth issues, coach Tom Herman doesn’t seem to bothered by Aucoin’s departure. At least, according to some rather odd wording Aucoin’s announcement. Transfer announcements are typically straight forward. Players thank their coaches and the fans for their support and say they’re looking forward to the next chapter. Aucoin did all that, but he also included this little tidbit:
“Thank you to Coach Tom Herman and the rest of the staff for believing in me, but after lengthy discussions, we’ve decided it’s in our best interest if we go our separate ways as we have agreed to a release making me eligible to transfer to all schools except those in the Big 12 and those teams on the schedule for the next two seasons.”
It’s not too odd for a coach to place restrictions on where a player can go, but it is odd for a player to say it was in both of their interests. Something seems off. The timing is also noteworthy as Brian Davis reports the decision to transfer came as Coach Herman held player spring exit interviews. Apparently, that interview didn’t go very well for Aucoin.
Aucoin, a Louisiana native, came to Texas as a 3-star member of Longhorn’s 2016 class, and redshirted his freshman year. Up until yesterday, it was thought he would be a significant part of the rotation, if not the starter.
His departure leaves the Longhorns with just two tight ends on the roster in Andrew Beck and Garrett Gray, an incoming graduate transfer in Kendall Moore, and two incoming signees in Cade Brewer and Reese Leitao. However there are plenty of concerns around whether or not this group will be ready by the fall.
Beck has valuable experience, but Coach Herman has said that Gray probably won’t be physically ready for the fall as he transitions from receiver, and while Moore will come in to provide some minutes, he saw very limited action while at Clemson. It’s also unlikely Brewer would be ready to make an immediate impact as he will also be transitioning to the tight end position after playing receiver in high school.
And then there is Leitao, who is facing significant drug charges after authorities found a large amount of drugs in his school locker. It’s unlikely he ever steps foot on the 40 acres, but he hasn’t been officially cut yet.
Given that coach Herman’s offenses typically rely on the tight end position, and the state of the Longhorn’s current tight end group, Aucoin’s departure is shocking. There is no word yet on where Aucoin will end up, but if he transfers to another Division I program he will have to sit out the 2017 season and will lose a year of eligibility since he has already used his redshirt last year.