After a tumultuous offseason, sophomore wide receiver Cayleb Jones has elected to transfer from Texas, according to ESPN HornsNation's Max Olson.
The former standout from Austin High School and Under Armor All-American is now free to attend any school of his choosing after receiving an unconditional release from his scholarship.
Jones' transfer comes after he torpedoed his offseason by breaking the jaw of a Longhorn tennis player during a dispute. Though the charges for aggravated assault were later dropped, the program decided to suspend Jones for the team's first game against New Mexico State.
Prior to the incident, Jones was the favorite to take over as the Longhorns' third wide receiver. He recorded two catches for 35 receiving yards along with a 10-yard rush last season, which he followed up with a strong start to the spring.
But after missing much of the offseason dealing with his arrest, Jones lost his hold on the possible starting position. Though he still had a decent shot to move up the depth chart, Jones and his family felt it would be best for him to get a "fresh start and transfer to another school," his father, Robert, said in a statement.
Now the Longhorns face a difficult decision regarding the wide receiver position. Returning players Kendall Sanders, John Harris, Bryant Jackson, Marcus Johnson and Duke Thomas all have talent, but have only 15 career receptions between them. Johnson and Thomas each have yet to record a reception.
As of now, Sanders remains the odds-on favorite to become Texas' third receiver. He will also miss the season debut due to suspension, but his speed and athleticism make him a must to see consistent playing time. It is likely that these factors also played into Jones' decision to transfer.
From there it gets messy, as Texas will need a solid fourth receiver in Major Applewhite's offense. Jackson and Harris can both make up for the size Texas loses in the absence of the 6'4" Jones, but neither has been able to produce consistently on the field. And nobody knows what to expect from either Thomas or Johnson.
Because of this lack of experience, Jones' transfer could force sophomore Daje Johnson to play more receiver in 2013. He had 19 receptions and one touchdown as a freshman, but is more of an all-purpose tailback than a true receiver.
If neither of those options works out, Mack Brown could elect to give Jake Oliver some playing time at least in the red zone. The 2013 signee is nearly identical in size to the departed Jones, with the route-running savvy to get some targets in close.
The most important thing is that Texas has options and that this is not a crippling blow to this season's Big 12 title aspirations. Still, the void left by Jones needs to be filled with fall camp right around the corner.