After finally enjoying some depth at the position in 2018, the Texas Longhorns are set to suffer some significant attrition in the quarterback room entering the spring.
According to a report from Orangebloods’ Anwar Richardson, true freshman quarterback Cameron Rising, who entered his name into the NCAA Transfer Portal in late December and officially visited Utah last weekend, has informed the staff that he will not be returning to Texas. The report also notes that in addition to Rising’s departure, junior quarterback Shane Buechele has informed the Longhorns staff that he intends to enter his name into the NCAA Transfer Portal and explore his options.
Despite Rising expressing interest to pursue other opportunities, Texas head coach Tom Herman noted ahead of the Sugar Bowl that he wanted not only Rising, but fellow true freshman quarterback Casey Thompson, who entered his name into the NCAA Transfer Portal, as well, to stick around.
“We don’t want to lose either one of them,” Herman said of Rising and Thompson.
The former four-star gunslinger out of Newbury Park (Calif.) remained with the team throughout the Longhorns 28-21 Sugar Bowl win over No. 5 Georgia, and reports indicated that Rising’s experience in New Orleans caused him to reconsider leaving the Longhorns, at least initially.
However, Rising did go on to take his official visit to Utah over the weekend, and just days later, the Orangebloods report indicates that Rising’s time at Texas has, in fact, come to a close.
It’s unclear whether or not Rising’s decision to officially leave the Longhorns is an indication that he’s headed to Utah, but the move would make sense from a potential playing time standpoint, as BON’s Wescott Eberts recently noted.
“Utah starter Tyler Huntley will exhaust his eligibility following the 2019 season, which Rising would have to sit out due to NCAA transfer rules. The back up, freshman Jason Shelley, struggled at times as Huntley’s replacement due to injury in 2018, throwing six interceptions against five touchdowns and completing less than 60 percent of his passes.”
In Buechele’s case, though the Transfer Portal allows a player to evaluate their options and visit other programs while retaining the option to return to their current program, should they choose to do so, it appears as if Buechele has sights set on a fresh start. Per a report from Horns247, reportedly told the Longhorns coaches that he plans to complete his degree at Texas in May and then pursue a graduate transfer opportunity. After redshirting in 2018, Buechele will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Throughout his three years on the Forty Acres, Buechele played in 23 games, including 19 starts; most of which came as a true freshman in 2016.
It initially appeared as if that debut campaign saw Buechele emerge as the Longhorns quarterback of the future after he completed 236-of-291 attempts for 2,958 yards and 21 touchdowns, along with 11 interceptions. Despite the arrival of former four-star quarterback Sam Ehlinger the following offseason, Buechele outlasted Ehlinger and earned the starting nod entering the 2017 season, but early injuries opened the door for what became a season-long quarterback battle, with the two often exchanging series within a single game.
The following offseason, however, to cap what Herman dubbed as the toughest decision he’s had to make throughout his entire coaching career, Ehlinger was promoted to first-team duties ahead of the 2018 slate. Ehlinger didn’t relent those reps, going on to enjoy a breakout sophomore season en route to 41 total touchdowns; the second-most ever by any Longhorn. Meanwhile, Buechele was limited to reserve reps, completing 20-of-34 passes for 184 yards and a touchdown while leading the Longhorns to a 23-17 win over Baylor in his season debut after Ehlinger suffered an early shoulder injury. Weeks later, in a 24-10 win over Iowa State, Buechele stepped in for an injured Ehlinger yet again, completing each of his 10 attempts for 89 yards and a touchdown.
With Rising now gone from the program and Buechele seemingly set to follow in those footsteps, Texas will now be tasked with reconstructed its quarterback room after losing its third-string quarterback, and likely its second-string quarterback.
To that end, Thompson will reportedly return to Texas in the aftermath of Rising electing to leave and Buechele eyeing a graduate transfer opportunity. The Longhorns are also set to incorporate four-star dual-threat All-American quarterback Roschon Johnson into the mix, who will compete for reps this spring as an early enrollee.