A scholarship running back wasn’t with the Texas Longhorns for the game against the Kansas State Wildcats last Saturday, as junior Kyle Porter opted not to travel with the team.
Asked about Porter’s status on Monday, head coach Tom Herman said that the junior is contemplating a redshirt this season — under new NCAA rules, he can play in four games and still maintain his year of eligibility by using a redshirt. However, since Porter has already appeared in four games, he’ll lose the ability to redshirt if he takes the field for Texas again this season.
Porter is currently practicing with the team and has the option to return if he wants after a meeting with Herman to discuss their options.
“And if Kyle eventually decides he wants to play, Kyle is more than welcome on our team,” Herman said. “Kyle’s still practicing with us every day to make sure that that opportunity is still a reality for him. And so we’ll see how and when he wants to make that decision, but we support him in everything that he does. He’s been nothing but a do-right guy in every facet of his life ever since we’ve been here. So we want to make sure we’re doing right by him, too.”
In the context of the new rules, that means making sure that the coaches and players are on the same page about the opportunities for playing time and managing the ability to take advantage of the new rules. Last Thursday, Herman mentioned that he’s discussed the possibility of redshirting with several other players, but did not name them.
Clearly, Porter is one of those players. Other notable players who have yet to appear in a game this season are sophomore running back Toneil Carter and senior defensive lineman Jamari Chisholm. Junior offensive lineman Denzel Okafor has only appeared in one game when graduate transfer left tackle Calvin Anderson lost his shoe against TCU.
Porter has fallen out of the rotation after carrying the ball 83 times last season and scoring four touchdowns. The additions of graduate transfer Tre Watson and freshman Keaontay Ingram has been a big reason why Porter has only carried the ball once this season. The 5’11, 215-pounder scored on that carry and also had three catches in that game against Maryland to open the season, but was mostly a situational player over the following three games, returning a kick and serving as a steady presence picking up blitzes.