Texas QB Shane Buechele's transfer leaves Longhorns without proven depth

By Hoss McBain

Texas quarterback Shane Buechele has officially entered his name into the transfer portal, according to a report from OrangeBloods’ Anwar Richardson.

Buechele will be immediately eligible at his new destination as a grad transfer. Since he redshirted the 2018 season, Buechele will have two years of eligibility remaining. He will stay on campus until he graduates in May, and then join a new team in June.

Entering the transfer portal does not necessarily mean that a player will leave. However, Buechele is expected to depart. Additionally, redshirt freshman Cameron Rising is also expected to leave the program after exploring his transfer options.

Multiple reports say that redshirt freshman Casey Thompson has decided to return to Austin next season, but he says he has made no decision at this time. If Thompson leaves, Ehlinger and 2019 signee Roschon Johnson would be the only two scholarship quarterbacks on campus in the fall.

Buechele was hailed as a quarterback savior during a brilliant freshman season for the Longhorns. Buechele led Texas to a wild 50-47 double-overtime win over Notre Dame in his first start. He completed 60.4 percent of his passes for 2,958 yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

However, Buechele struggled to hang onto his starting job when Tom Herman took over the program in 2017. He struggled with injuries and competition from Ehlinger. As a junior, Ehlinger firmly won the starting job.

Coming out of high school, Buechele had offers from Houston, SMU, TCU and Texas Tech in the state. SMU and TCU are both schools that could especially use veteran quarterback play. The Mustangs are starting an inexperienced true sophomore quarterback. TCU recently added Kansas State grad transfer Alex Delton, but there’s concern that Kansas State might block him from being immediately eligible. ESPN is reporting that SMU could be a viable destination for Buechele. 

Buechele’s move leaves the Longhorns with very limited quarterback depth. Ehlinger has shown a propensity to get injured because of his physical style of play. He missed significant time against both Baylor and Iowa State with a shoulder injury.

Johnson is a big-time player. He threw for 7,710 yards, rushed for 4,900 yards and added 170 total touchdowns at Port Neches-Groves en route to being named the No. 4 dual-threat quarterback in the nation. Thompson coming back would be significant too – he was the No. 14 dual-threat quarterback in the class of 2018.

Regardless, if Ehlinger gets hurt next year, Texas will have to rely on a quarterback who has never played a down of college football. Buechele helped lead the Longhorns to wins over Iowa State and Baylor after Ehlinger went out with injuries. If the Longhorns suffered bad quarterback play in those games, the record could have easily fallen from 9-3 to 7-5.

Johnson also dealt with injuries that kept him out for stretches at PNG. Backup quarterbacks have never been more important.Texas has the potential to compete for the Big 12 next season, but quarterback play will play a critical role.

Even if it’s just Ehlinger and Johnson, the quarterback room at Texas is incredibly talented. However, the depth is concerning. Herman will have to address it during the offseason, whether in the form of an additional quarterback recruit or a transfer. 

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