Texas signee Reese Leitao pled guilty to misdemeanor drug possession on Tuesday and will receive a four-year deferred sentence as part of his agreement with Tulsa County prosecutors.
If Leitao stays out of trouble for four years, his attorney said, his record will be wiped clean in the state of Oklahoma.
Now, all eyes turn toward Texas coach Tom Herman. Will Leitao be allowed to join the Longhorns this summer or not?
“We’re aware of the recent proceedings regarding Reese Leitao and are gathering facts,” Herman said in a statement released hours after Leitao reached a plea agreement.
“After the latest information is thoroughly reviewed by me and our staff and the Athletics Department,” the coach added, “we will make a decision regarding Reese’s status with our program.”
Leitao was arrested on Feb. 28 on one felony charge of drug possession with intent to distribute within 2,000 feet of a school. He confessed to authorities that he had 20 Xanax pills — 19 hidden in his underwear — and $1,289 in his wallet and another $20 in his backpack, according to the arrest affidavit.
After a preliminary hearing on April 18, Leitao’s attorney Allen Smallwood was not optimistic the charge would be lowered. On Tuesday, Smallwood said, “I don’t know if I’ve ever accomplished this with the initial filing to what it is now.”
Leitao has “some probationary work,” including speaking engagements at schools, and will be under the supervision of the district attorney, Smallwood said. Leitao is required to pay a $1,000 fine and will pay $40 per month to the Tulsa district attorney’s office as a fee.
“I’m happy,” Smallwood said. “Hopefully the University of Texas will be happy.”
It was unlikely that Leitao would have been allowed to join the Longhorns had he pled guilty to a felony charge. Strictly from an on-field perspective, Herman needs Leitao, a 6-foot-5 tight end from Jenks, Okla. The position is critically thin at the moment for Texas.
As an all-state honoree, Leitao was ranked the 119th-best tight end recruit nationally and the eighth-best player overall in Oklahoma, according to 247Sports’ composite ratings.
Prosecutors “figured this was a young man worth taking a chance on,” Smallwood said. “He’d been doing this for about a week. It was just a spur of the moment thing. Momentary lapse of judgment — big time.”
It’s now up to Herman and UT officials to determine if they will give Leitao a second chance, too.
Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.