At a position of critical need, the Texas Longhorns officially added some key depth on Friday with news from the school that Syracuse Orange graduate transfer tight end Kendall Moore has added the graduate aspect to his transfer situation after completing summer course work.
As a result, the fifth-year player will arrive in Austin this weekend in preparation for the start of preseason camp on Monday and will be eligible immediately.
Moore opted to join the Texas program in early April following a visit and will provide crucial depth at one of the spots that most concerns head coach Tom Herman — the only proven player at the position currently is senior Andrew Beck.
But as Herman pointed out at Big 12 Media Days, Beck has undergone two surgeries on his foot this offseason. And he has only 12 career catches, so he’s certainly hasn’t been a difference-maker to this point in his career.
Following the departure of redshirt freshman Peyton Aucoin this spring, that left two signees in the 2017 class — Lake Travis product Cade Brewer, who was mostly a receiver in high school and is probably a year away from physically being ready, according to Herman, and Jenks (Okla.) standout Reese Leitao.
Suspended for the first two games as a result of a felony drug charge in late February that resulted in a misdemeanor plea deal, Leitao is a candidate to contribute early, but will be set back by not being available against Maryland and San Jose State.
Junior Garrett Gray, a former wide receiver from Marble Falls, has also been transitioning to the position, but he may need this season to adjust to the blocking demands of coordinator Tim Beck’s offense.
So while Moore was hardly a receiving threat himself for the Orange, especially under head coach Dino Babers, who runs a version of the Art Briles veer-and-shoot offense that generally ignores the tight end in the passing game, he should compete for the starting job for the simple fact that there aren’t many options.
As a redshirt junior in 2016 under Babers, Moore caught one pass for 15 yards and totaled 14 receptions for 150 yards and two touchdowns in his career at Syracuse after four career starts.