Texas signee Reese Leitao will be allowed to keep his scholarship and join the Longhorns after a felony drug charge was pled down to a misdemeanor.
“We’ve reviewed and discussed at length the circumstances surrounding our football signee Reese Leitao,” UT athletic director Mike Perrin said in a statement issued Tuesday. “After considerable reflection, I have decided to allow him to be a part of our program.”
Perrin said he met with Leitao and his parents and “found him to be contrite, sincere and accountable for his actions.
“He understands that he will, strongly, be held to a very high standard of behavior at the University of Texas,” Perrin added. “He committed to me that he will take this negative action and turn it into a positive outcome.”
Texas coach Tom Herman did not issue a statement. Through an athletic department spokesman, Herman said, “I support Mike’s decision and look forward to getting Reese on campus.”
Said Perrin, “Coach Herman and I welcome Reese to the Longhorn family, support him and look forward to a promising future.”
Leitao reached a final agreement with Tulsa County prosecutors last week and received a four-year probationary sentence in Oklahoma. If Leitao has no violations during that time, his record will be wiped clean.
Leitao was arrested on Feb. 28 on one felony charge of drug possession with intent to distribute within 2,000 feet of a school. According to the arrest affidavit, Leitao had 20 Xanax pills — 19 hidden in his underwear — and about $1,300 in cash.
Last Tuesday, Herman issued a statement saying the school was “gathering facts” and would soon make a final decision.
Strictly from a public relations standpoint, it was unlikely Herman would be allowed to accept a player with a felony on his record. UT officials have no written policy that denies admission to any student with a felony conviction, though.
Perrin’s decision allows Herman to get the coveted tight end he needs at a position that’s critically thin. Leitao caught 34 passes for 423 yards and four touchdowns as a senior last season at Jenks (Okla.).
Leitao becomes the second person Herman has brought into the football program who had to be vetted by Perrin after the fact.
Herman hired former Baylor staffer Casey Horny to become a special teams quality control assistant. The hire sparked debate over whether UT should hire anyone associated with Baylor, considering the school’s off-field issues. Perrin issued a statement in mid-January that he supported Herman’s hire.
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Read the full text of the statement issued Tuesday by Texas athletic director Mike Perrin:
“We’ve reviewed and discussed at length the circumstances surrounding our football signee Reese Leitao. After considerable reflection, I have decided to allow him to be a part of our program. Based on several discussions with people who know Reese well as a person both on and off the field, he’s been a good student, highly-regarded teammate and leader among his peers. All indications are that he’s a young man with a history of good character and behavior who made a poor decision. I recently met with Reese and his parents and found him to be contrite, sincere and accountable for his actions. He has taken ownership of his mistake and the consequences that come with it. He understands that he will, strongly, be held to a very high standard of behavior at The University of Texas. He committed to me that he will take this negative action and turn it into a positive outcome. Reese is determined to make this situation a turning point in his life and not an event that defines his character. Coach Herman and I welcome Reese to the Longhorn family, support him and look forward to a promising future.”
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