The Texas Longhorns don't put on full pads until Tueday evening, but freshman linebacker Cecil Cherry is already considering transfering, sources told Anwar Richardson of Orangebloods.
Nothing is final yet, but the staff is apparently making a last-ditch attempt to keep Cherry in burnt orange:
#Longhorns are trying to convince LB Cecil Cherry to stay. He informed everybody yesterday he was leaving.— Anwar Richardson (@AnwarRichardson) August 11, 2015
However, it may be too late, as Cherry's father, Winston Cherry, told the Austin American-Statesman that his son requested transfer paperwork on Monday and he expects him to fly back to Florida on Saturday. The player himself confirmed with Orangebloods that he's planning on leaving as soon as possible and Horns Digest reported on Tuesday afternoon that head coach Charlie Strong signed the transfer papers for Cherry.
So that also makes him likely to confirm the news of Cherry's imminent departure when he holds a media availability following Tuesday evening's practice.
The news comes as a surprise both because fall camp just started last Friday and because he was one of the most outspoken embers of the 2015 recruiting class. A member of the so-called "Florida Five," the 6'0, 240-pounder took his official visit for the West Virginia game last November, decommitted from Tennessee exactly a month later, then pledged to Texas on December 15.
From that point through National Signing Day and leading up to his enrollment in June, Cherry seemingly bled burnt orange and did so in an extremely public manner. If Malik Jefferson was the face of the 2015 recruiting class, the Victory Christian product was the voice of it.
Considered a consensus three-star prospect, Cherry was the No. 13 inside linebacker nationally and the No. 60 player in Florida, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, and held nearly 35 offers.
Since the ankle injury sustained by senior linebacker Dalton Santos lingered through the summer to help keep five-star freshman Malik Jefferson playing inside, the potential for Cherry to earn playing time diminished. Cherry's father also said that Texas is not designed for his son's "style of defense" and his son added that he doesn't feel like he's a fit with the Longhorns in his comments to Orangebloods.
"I'm quite sure Texas isn't hurt by this whatsoever," Winston Cherry told the Statesman. "They got Malik (Jefferson) and other ballplayers. That's how I feel about it. It's no offense against Texas. This thing about his dream, now you have to live your dream and you woke up."
Homesickness may be a part of it, however, as Richardson reports that Cherry could end up at South Florida if he does depart. And Winston Cherry also speculated that his son and head coach Charlie Strong aren't getting along right now.
The potential for Jefferson to remain inside and the presence of Anthony Wheeler in the recruiting class would diminish the impact of losing Cherry, but it would leave the Longhorns with only one member of the Florida Five on campus at the moment -- cornerback Davante Davis.