Victor Ike to transfer

Senior-to-be RB <B>Victor Ike</B>, who is not enrolled at UT this semester and who is not participating in spring practice, has elected to transfer, Texas head coach <B>Mack Brown</B> announced on Friday.

Ike went into last fall as the Horns' No. 1 tailback, but he lost his job early in the season to Ivan Williams who subsequently gave way to true freshman Cedric Benson. Although Ike remained the team's top kickoff return, the former Austin Bowie star ended up with just 41 carries and 165 yards during the '01 season. Ike plans to enroll at Southern University this summer.

"Victor is a fine young man and someone that worked extremely hard since coming to Texas," Brown said. "He was a productive player who provided us with an explosive kickoff returner over the past three seasons, but Victor wants a chance to be a featured tailback and feels that opportunity best presents itself elsewhere. We wish him the very best of luck and appreciate everything he has done for The University of Texas and its football program."

The fall tailback picture changes little for the Horns despite Ike's departure. Benson, the incumbent starter at tailback, and Ivan Williams, who is sitting out spring while recovering from off-season surgery, would have entered August as the team's top two tailbacks regardless of Ike's presence while Brett Robin looks to remain UT's No. 1 option as a third-down, passing-situation tailback. Redshirt freshman Anthony Johnson has worked with the second team at tailback over the last two weeks of spring workouts, and the two true freshmen RBs -- Selvin Young and Albert Hardy -- will join the team in August, so Ike's opportunities as a running back looked very limited.

The one area where Ike may be missed is kick returner. In the '00 Holiday Bowl, the then-sophomore broke the Horns' 20-plus year kickoff-return-for-a-TD drought with a 93-yard scoring jaunt and he averaged almost 25 yards per return during the '00 regular season. In '01, he improved that average to 30.7 yards per return despite failing to again reach the end zone. So far this spring, dangerous punt returner Nathan Vasher, plus sophomore wideout Brian Carter and redshirt freshmen Cedric Griffin and Michael Huff have all worked in deep return.

"It was a very difficult decision but one I feel is in my best interest,"

Ike said. "I don’t have much time left in my college career and feel I will have an opportunity to contribute more on the field at Southern. I love UT, my coaches and teammates and the city of Austin, but this is what’s best for me. I’ll be playing somewhere else next year, but I’ll always keep a close eye on my Longhorn friends and teammates."

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