Houston quarterback D'Eriq King says he won't play the rest of this season, instead taking a redshirt year, with the intention to return to the Cougars in 2020.
Receiver Keith Corbin made a similar announcement Monday. The school released statements from both players.
King and Corbin, both seniors, are taking advantage of an NCAA rule implemented last year that allows players to participate in four games and still redshirt, preserving a year of eligibility. Both could end up transferring, as other players have done after using the four-game redshirt. But for now they said they plan to play for Houston next season.
"I came here to play football for the University of Houston and that is not changing," King said. "After carefully thinking through this process with my family and Coach (Dana) 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."
The new redshirt rule led several players to leave their teams during the season last year. Most notably, current Missouri quarterback Kelly Bryant left Clemson after losing the starting job to Trevor Lawrence after four games. Bryant made it clear from the start he planned to transfer as a graduate student, which meant he would be immediately eligible at his new school.
The Cougars (1-3), expected to contend in the American Athletic Conference, are off to a 1-3 start against a difficult schedule in their first season under Holgorsen. King was one of the most prolific players in the country last year, a dual-threat who accounted for 50 touchdowns and 332 yards of total offense per game before a knee injury in November ended his season.
Health does not appear to be an issue for King, but his production is down. He is averaging 243 total yards and completing 52.7% of his passes. The Cougars opened the season with losses to No. 6 Oklahoma and Washington State and then lost their conference opener on a last-second touchdown at Tulane last week. It was their fourth game in 18 days.
Listed at 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds, King also has played receiver at Houston. Last season was his first exclusively playing quarterback, and he became a star in former offensive coordinator Kendal Briles' offense.
Houston fired coach Major Applewhite after the 2018 season and hired Holgorsen away from West Virginia. Briles moved on and Holgorsen installed his Air Raid spread offense, which has usually been quarterback friendly.
Corbin is Houston's second-leading receiver, with 11 catches for 192 yards and two touchdowns.
"Having the opportunity to take time and focus on the completion of my degree, plus having the chance to develop as a student-athlete is why I have decided to redshirt for the remainder of the 2019 season," Corbin said. "Coach Holgorsen, myself and my family both took time to make this decision. Being a Cougar has been one of the best decisions I have made, and I'm ready to take this time to help our program develop for the future."