HOUSTON (AP) — D’Eriq King says he is staying at the University of Houston.
The quarterback is denying reports that he intends to transfer after redshirting the remainder of the 2019 season.
“That was never a thought,” King said Tuesday. “I never thought about leaving, never thought about transferring. To be honest with you, I didn’t think about redshirting or doing any of this until everything was on the table.
“I’m staying here, I’m here. If I wanted to leave Houston and go somewhere else I could’ve. I think just me being here is what I want to do and it’s the best opportunity for me.”
Houston lost 38-31 to Tulane on Thursday night, and King met with Cougars coach Dana Holgorsen on Friday morning. The first 30 minutes of the meeting were about the loss to the Green Wave. After that, Holgorsen said options were discussed.
One of the options was King redshirting for the remainder of the 2019 season to save a year of eligibility.
“I think it’s pretty cool that these guys want to continue their college experience at the University of Houston,” Holgorsen said, referring to King and wide receiver Keith Corbin. “They don’t want it to be over in a couple of months. They have the right to get another year, so I respect that. Not only do I respect that decision, I support that decision.”
The conversation didn’t end on Friday.
King said they continued to talk up until Monday morning, when he woke up and was still unsure of what he wanted to do. In the end, redshirting and staying at Houston is what the QB, his family and Holgorsen believed was best for his future.
“This decision I made was probably the hardest I’ve made so far in my life, it wasn’t a decision I just woke up one day and wanted to do,” King said in his opening statement. “It wasn’t just me making the decision. It was me, my family, coach Holgorsen, a lot of people got involved with it. I think it was the best for my future and my college experience.”
With King leading Houston’s new-look offense, the Cougars are 1-3 so far this season, also losing to No. 6 Oklahoma and then-No. 20 Washington State. They visit North Texas on Saturday night.
The notion that the Cougars are giving up on the remainder of the year with King and Corbin redshirting is nonsense, Holgorsen said.
“That’s something I just can’t wrap my mind around,” Holgorsen said. “I can assure you whoever’s saying that was not at our practice last night. Was not in our meetings on Sunday night. We’re full go ahead on playing a game this weekend. That to me is absolute nonsense.”
King can still practice and attend team meetings just like every other player.
While he is redshirting, per NCAA rule, other teams cannot contact King about transferring unless he enters the transfer portal.
Despite the rule, Holgorsen remains concerned someone may still try to talk King away from Houston.
“Yeah there is, he’s a special player,” Holgorsen said. “There’s a lot of coaches out there that cheat. … All indications are that he’s not going into the transfer portal, so if he’s not in the transfer portal it’s against NCAA rules and regulations to be pursuing that.
“I’ve never got the impression that D’Eriq is leading me astray in anything over the last nine months. He’s a wonderful kid, he’s a Houstonian, he’s a Houston Cougar, he chose to come to this school, and I think he’s very proud of being here.”
University of Houston Vice President of Athletics Chris Pezman said they will be watchful.
“It is against NCAA rules to reach out to those kids,” Pezman said. “They are not in the transfer portal and we will be very aggressive with anybody that does.”