The usual attrition following spring practice has finally arrived, as redshirt sophomore H-back Darius Terrell and junior Eryon Barnett have both opted to leave the Texas program, according to a release from the school on Tuesday afternoon.
Somewhat tellingly, both had only appeared in nine games apiece for the Longhorns, with the only notable statistic recorded by either one a single catch by Terrell last season, which went for only three yards.
While Terrell, the DeSoto product who starred as a wide receiver and a member of the Eagle basketball team that won state his junior season, appeared in line for some playing time as the back-up to DJ Grant at H-back, in many ways as a take he was a relic of previous recruiting tactics.
Prior to the current coaching regime, the Longhorns often opted to take high school wide receivers and attempt to turn them into collegiate tight ends or H-backs. The list is a reasonably long one -- Jermichael Finley, Josh Marshall, DJ Grant, MJ McFarland, and Terrell. Despite some success there, the notable failures have led to the current emphasis on finding players who played the position in high school and don't have the same steep developmental curves both physically and in adjusting to the demands of in-line blocking.
Even though the coaches have changed their philosophy, sophomore wide receiver Miles Onyegbule will be the next in that long line to make the move in the fall and it's possible that Terrell felt he could fall behind Onyegbule on the depth chart.
One of the more interesting follows on Twitter among the current players (@Dnt_Do_It_DT), and someone who sometimes got himself in trouble for offbeat remarks, Terrell had the following to say about his decision to leave Texas:
The University of Texas is a great place. Its diversity makes it unique to most other colleges in America. Unfortunately, things didn't work out for me, but I'm thankful for Coach (Mack) Brown, Coach (Bruce) Chambers and the coaching staff for blessing me with the opportunity to experience Texas and all of the great people and opportunities it exposed me to. I formed a strong and hopefully lifetime bond with my teammates, and while I'll miss them all, I'll still be rooting for them. I know Texas has great things in store for the future and will be on top again soon. At the same time, I also look forward to taking the next step in my life and doing what I feel is best for me in pursuing my dreams elsewhere.
If Terrell represented an unexpected departure, the loss of Barnett has seemed like only a matter of time for months. After appearing in several games as a true freshman, Barnett suffered an injury that resulted in a redshirt season before contributing sparingly in 2010 on special teams, while the coaches struggled to determine whether he could play cornerback.
Then, another knee injury last spring caused him to miss spring practice in 2011 and the 2011 season. It was also not clear that Barnett participated in the recently completed practices. Given the young depth at the position, Barnett had virtually no hope of playing time at Texas, even assuming full health.
A public intoxication arrest back in the middle of January, just as players were reporting back to the program, probably didn't help Barnett's cause, either.
Here's what Barnett had to say about his departure:
The Longhorn nation has been good to me. Coach Brown and Coach (Duane) Akina are great coaches and have helped me become a better man and helped me as a player. I'm going miss my teammates and UT, but I decided I need a new and fresh start.
Hopefully Barnett had fun at the strip club on Sunday night before ending his football career at Texas -- he certainly had quite a pile of singles:
Sunday evening adventures aside, best of luck to both in the future.