So much for the Texas Longhorns having a little more depth along the defensive line this fall -- after spring reports that former Houston Cougars defensive end Zeke Riser would complete his final season of eligibility in Austin, he is now making his way to the East Coast to end his career with the Maryland Terrapins.
Riser apparently loaded up his car on Monday evening to make the long drive:
So what happened? It had seemed as if Riser-to-Texas was a done deal back in March, according to numerous reports. The 6'4, 255-pounder told the Washington Post that talks with the Longhorns "stalled," whatever that means. The likely answer is that Texas didn't have an available scholarship for him and Maryland does.
Then there's the issue of playing time -- Riser has as many collegiate starts (27) as the rest of the Maryland defensive line. Where he would have been a back up struggling to compete for playing time with only a fall camp to make a dent in the depth chart, as a Terrapin he will walk into a situation where he will be the most experienced and accomplished player on the entire defensive line.
As for the Longhorns, Riser would have been a nice insurance policy in case of injury to someone like junior Cedric Reed or continued ineffectiveness from senior Reggie Wilson. But with young players like redshirt freshman Caleb Bluiett flashing in the spring game, the reps Riser would have occupied are probably better taken by a potential multi-year contributor in Bluiett or sophomore Shiro Davis or redshirt freshman Bryce Cottrell.
The inability to land a defensive end in the 2013 class certainly has longterm ramifications for the depth chart, one that the coaches are attempting to remedy with the take of a handful of 2014 prospects, but Riser was never more than a short-term fix with no guaranteed playing time.