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Texas TE signee Reese Leitao has felony drug charge reduced to misdemeanor

Just make this your Rorschach test for intersection of college sports, criminal charges, and privilege.

Reese Leitao
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On Tuesday, Texas Longhorns tight end signee Reese Leitao pled guilty to a reduced charge related to his late February arrest that resulted in a felony charge of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school.

According to multiple reports, the 6’4, 234-pounder who played at Jenks Heigh School in Oklahoma received a four-year deferred sentence.

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 in April — 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.

And though there’s not yet any news on whether Herman will allow Leitao to enroll at Texas this summer with the rest of the 2017 recruiting class, this development significantly increases those odds.

Turns out that the Leitao family’s decision to hire the best criminal defense attorney in Tulsa paid off. Leitao’s reputation around the school likely helped, as well as the belief around Jenks that the star tight end merely took the tablets from a female student because Leitao “didn’t think he’d get checked by campus officers.”

Whatever happens with Leitao and the Longhorns, he has avoided the worst-case scenario and will likely have a chance to play college football somewhere.

Whether he deserves that opportunity or not is a discussion that Herman and his staff will be having in the coming days.


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