If the Texas Longhorns quarterback room is going to add one more member for the 2017 season, it won’t come in the form of LSU graduate transfer Brandon Harris, who announced his transfer to North Carolina on Facebook following an official visit over the weekend.
A former starter for the Tigers, Harris lost his starting job during the earliest stages of the 2016 season to Purdue transfer Danny Etling and after never really finding successful footing in Baton Rouge, Harris was likely in line to spend his senior season at LSU as a backup.
In three seasons at LSU, Harris passed for 2,756 yards and 20 touchdowns, along with 10 interceptions. He threw for just 139 yards in 2016.
Once Harris announced his intent to transfer upon gradution this spring, which allows him to become eligible immediately for the 2017 season, North Carolina and Texas quickly emerged as the two likely landing spots. While depth behind Shane Buechele is the primary concern in Austin, Harris sought an opportunity in which he can essentially slide into a starting role, which seems likely with the Tar Heels being tasked with replacing NFL-bound passer Mitch Trubisky.
While Harris certainly would have brought further quarterback competition to Texas, and possibly even pushed Buechele for the starting job, passing up what appears to be a lock for the starting role in Chapel Hill was a tall ask for a senior that could have realistically began the season at Texas as a backup.
“If that grad transfer is better than those two and can beat them out, we’ll worry about their growth next spring,” Tom Herman recently said of his recruitment of Harris.
Aside from Harris, the ‘Horns don’t appear to have any clear-cut quarterback options in the graduate transfer market at this time. With potential third-string passer Matthew Merrick recently giving up football to focus on academics, the depth concerns at Texas may soon be addressed with quarterback-turned-wide-receiver Jerrod Heard seeing additional reps as an emergency option.