Former starting Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert has elected to transfer and has been given an unconditional release from his scholarship by UT.
Gilbert lost his starting job less than two games into the season, and then had shoulder surgery following the BYU game.
Gilbert was spotted at SMU practice this morning. He has been granted permission by Mack Brown and Texas to actively search for another school to transfer to while still being enrolled at UT this semester.
"This was a very difficult decision because I love the University of Texas and have had a great time playing there," Gilbert said in a statement. "I've talked to the staff and have decided it is in my best interest to transfer. I can't thank all of my teammates and everyone at Texas enough for all their support, but I just think I'm at the point in my life where I need a fresh start."
That fresh start could be in Dallas. Or it could be in Fort Worth. Sources said Gilbert has been linked to both the SMU and TCU programs.
Gilbert, a junior, will have two years of eligibility remaining due to the shoulder injury. The Austin American-Statesman reported that Gilbert can get this season back with a medical hardship because he played in less than 30 percent of the Longhorns' games.
Gilbert replaced Colt McCoy in the first quarter of the 2009 National Championship game against Alabama after McCoy went down with an injury. Gilbert, then a true freshman, went 15 of 40 for 186 yards and two touchdowns in his first college game. The Longhorns lost 37-21.
UT went 5-7 last season with Gilbert as their starter. He completed 59 percent of his passes and had an interception-to-touchdown ratio of 17:10.
SMU quarterback J.J. McDermott is a senior and will graduate after this year. If Gilbert decides to come to SMU, he'll have to battle former starter Kyle Padron and freshman Conner Preston for the spot. Gilbert had to compete with Case McCoy, David Ash and Connor Wood (who recently transferred to Colorado) for the Longhorns' starting job this summer.
Gilbert's younger brother, Lake Travis wide receiver Griffin, has committed to TCU. That might entice Garrett to transfer there over SMU.
If the fight for Gilbert is between the Mustangs and Horned Frogs, that would add some fuel to the already strong June Jones-Gary Patterson fire that's been heating up this week.
Gilbert is rumored to be interested in about four or five schools, and is very interested in SMU.
Gilbert was a 5-star recruit out of Lake Travis. His father, Gale, played in the NFL.
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