One of the biggest storylines of the 2018 college football season was Clemson’s quarterback competition, which saw true freshman Trevor Lawrence beat out the incumbent Kelly Bryant, who officially lost his starting role after the Tigers’ fourth game.
That’s because of the amended redshirt rule took effect starting last season, which allows student-athletes to play in up to four games (and no more than four games) and still redshirt the season, giving them four full years of eligibility.
Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney wanted to give Bryant the opportunity to transfer elsewhere as a graduate transfer, if that was the path he wanted to take. That’s how Lawrence led Clemson to a 15-0 season and a national championship, while Bryant ended up in the SEC East, playing for Missouri this season in his final year of eligibility.
Well, the four-game redshirt rule has impacted one of the top quarterbacks in the sport for the second year in a row as Houston quarterback D’Eriq King, along with his wide receiver teammate Keith Corbin, will redshirt the remainder of the 2019 season, the school announced Monday.
“I came here to play football for the University of Houston and that is not changing,” King said in a statement. “After carefully thinking through this process with my family and Coach Holgorsen, I have decided the opportunity to redshirt this season gives me the best chance to develop as a player, earn my degree and set me up for the best success in the future. I’m looking forward to being a part of the success of this program going forward.”
— Houston Football (@UHCougarFB) September 23, 2019
Earlier reports on Monday indicated that King was potentially considering transferring – similar to what Bryant did last season – but ultimately, he’ll stay at the school and on the team in what appears to be an unprecedented use of the new four-game redshirt rule.
King was someone we had ranked among the 15 best returning quarterbacks in college football entering this season.
But he got off to a slow start this fall for Houston (1-3), which blew a 21-point lead to Tulane in Week 4.
After completing 63.5 percent of his passes last season and 64.7 percent as a sophomore, King was just 58-for-110 (52.7%) this season for just six yards per attempt. His 2019 quarterback rating is 50 points lower than it was last season and he was sacked 12 times through the Cougars’ first four games.
He was averaging just 3.7 yards per rush on 15 attempts this season after averaging more than 5.3 yards per carry each of the last three seasons.
Now King will have the opportunity to preserve and extend his final season of eligibility under first-year Houston Coach Dana Holgorsen, who was hired by the school in the offseason after spending eight years at West Virginia.
While many college football fans expected the four-game redshirt rule to be used by first-year players, who could gain valuable in-game experience while preserving their redshirt in their first season on campus, a big-name quarterback and his coach have now creatively used the rule for the second year in a row.