The inimitable Sunday Morning Quarterback prefaces each of his "Absurdly Premature Assessment" posts with a disclaimer:
Assuredly, some of those pratfalls are predictable: Kids break laws. Injuries are suffered. Players who have no realistic shot at playing time see the writing on the wall and decide to transfer.
That last one perhaps explains why offensive tackle Roy Watts has decided to transfer from the program. But it most certainly does not explain why J'Marcus Webb, who would have to be filed in the "other pratfalls" category, is also leaving.
Roy Watts would have been a redshirt freshman this season for Texas, and because his path to playing time would have required him to beat out some hefty competition, it's not unfathomable he decided that his interests would be best served moving to another school. Webb, however, has no such excuse. The mammoth would-be sophomore played in every game as a true freshman, with coaches glowing about his potential as a tackle for the 'Horns in 2008 and beyond.
At 6-8, 310 pounds, Webb is an absolute joke of a human being, and I mean that in the "freakishly awesome football player" way. I actually had the chance to meet Webb last fall when he passed by our crawfish boil tailgate. Shaking his hand was like sliding your mitt into a couch. Your paw just disappeared. And the couch was made of granite.
I don't have much to say about Webb's technical abilities, but I can say with supreme confidence that he has all the physical gifts to be a Sunday football player along the line.
So what gives? Why leave Texas now? Ostensibly, he's leaving because the grass elsewhere is greener than the extraordinarily competitive lawn of the 40 Acres. As Webb said:
Perhaps, but as competitive as Texas may be, Webb was clearly in the coaches' favor, was being groomed for a starting role, has the gifts to succeed in said role, and couldn't possibly go to a "higher profile" program with a transfer.
That, taken with the simultaneous announcement of Watts' departure, leads me to believe there's something more in play. I've heard nothing about trouble-making issues with Webb, which leaves only grades as a possible explanation for the late-May departure. Reading between the lines, Watts and Webb appear to have put themselves in a position where they fell flat on their face in the classroom.
If that's the case, Mack Brown did the right thing by sending the two youngsters off with an honorable discharge, with hopes they can pull themselves together academically elsewhere. Still, if true, it's terribly disappointing that Webb failed to meet the standards requisite of retention at the University of Texas.
I'll leave it at this: I wish both of these young men the best of luck in whatever awaits them next, and hope that if grades are the reason for their departure, that the lessons of their failure at Texas spur them to greater achievement at their next destination.
It's a shame Webb won't be here to compete for Tony Hills' job in 2008, but who knows? Maybe it's not grades. Maybe Webb just saw Tray Allen play and said "Fuck it."
Would you blame him?