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Texas TE signee Reese Leitao’s court hearing pushed back as he seeks plea deal

Leitao’s attorney called his client “extremely stressed, extremely guilt ridden.”

Reese Leitao
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On Tuesday, Texas Longhorns tight end signee Reese Leitao, formerly of Jenks High School in Oklahoma, appeared in court as a formality after his court date was pushed back to May 23.

Leitao is facing a felony charge for possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school. During an administrative search at Jenks High School on February 28, Leitao admitted to selling the anti-anxiety drug Xanax, a controlled substance. At the time, Leitao was in possession of $1,309 in cash and 20 pills, 19 of which were stored in a prescription bottle in his underwear.

However, there’s still a chance that Leitao could keep his scholarship at Texas, albeit a small one, according to Leitao’s attorney Allen Smallwood — if the charge is reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor, Longhorns head coach Tom Herman told Smallwood, according to the attorney, that Leitao would then have a “fighting chance” to keep his scholarship.

On Tuesday, Smallwood requested a plea agreement from the district attorney to secure the reduction of Leitao’s felony charge.

"It was positive," Smallwood said of the meeting, according to Horns Digest. "They know what we've asked for, but no decision has been made. I'm optimistic. But it's a stretch. It (a plea agreement from a felony to a misdemeanor) in cases like this don't happen very often."

Smallwood also passed along the remorse that his client feels:

One potential determining factor in the case is Leitao’s reputation at Jenks, which was by all accounts unimpeachable before his arrest.

The other are the actual facts of the case. A source provided Horns Digest the following explanation for why Leitao was in possession of the Xanax:

A source connected to Jenks High School told HD it was their belief Leitao offered to take the tablets from a female Jenks student from a well-connected family in Tulsa, because Leitao didn’t think he’d get checked by campus officers.

Of course, that explanation doesn’t specifically account for the presence of roughly $1,300 in cash on Leitao’s person at the time of his arrest, though presumably he also took the money from her under the same assumption.

Whether or not the district attorney finds that explanation believable seems to lie at the center of Leitao’s chances of having a college football career with the Longhorns.

Herman has previously stated that he wants the necessary information to make a decision about Leitao’s enrollment at Texas prior to the start of summer classes, which begin June 1st.

And so while Smallwood admitted that it’s unusual to gain such a reduction in charges, his own connections in Tulsa, the willingness of Jenks administrators, coaches, and possibly faculty to voice for Leitao, and the possibility that this was a one-time mistake suggest that Leitao’s “fighting chance” in light of those realities is better than it appeared at the time of his arrest.

If that happens, the odds are high that Leitao will enroll at Texas for the first summer session.