TE Colt Lyerla Withdraws from University of Oregon

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IOctober 6, 2013

EUGENE, OR - APRIL 27: Colt Lyerla #15 of the Oregon Duckslooks on from the sidelines during the second half of the Oregon Spring Game at Autzen Stadium on April 27, 2013 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Starting tight end Colt Lyerla has decided to leave the University of Oregon, marking another twist in what has been a somewhat bizarre story. 

GoDucks.com's Rob Moseley has the surprising news:

Oregon junior tight end Colt Lyerla has withdrawn from school, having informed UO coach Mark Helfrich late Sunday afternoon that he would be leaving the football program.

Lyerla, a former five-star recruit from Hillsboro, finished his UO career with 12 career starts and 34 receptions. He was suspended for the Ducks’ win Saturday at Colorado, but said Sunday his departure wasn’t related to that and was “completely my decision.”

BOULDER, CO - OCTOBER 05:  Head coach Mark Helfrich of the Oregon Ducks leads his team to a 57-16 victory over the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field on October 5, 2013 in Boulder, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Lyerla, who entered the season as the starting tight end, made headlines in mid-September when he said that he was unhappy about how head coach Mark Helfrich described his absence from the Tennessee game. 

He later apologized and everything was smoothed over, but after failing to record a catch against Cal, he didn't make the trip to Colorado on Saturday. It was eventually reported he had been suspended "for violation of unspecified team rules."

Still, he made it clear, via Moseley, he isn't leaving on bad terms:

“I love everyone at Oregon; everyone’s on good terms, I believe,” Lyerla said. “Just for my own benefit, it was time to move on.”

Lyerla said he does not plan to transfer to another school, but rather to pursue a professional career. He said he had “a really good talk” with Helfrich late Sunday, and that “we left on good terms.”

Lyerla recorded 25 catches for 392 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore last year and had tallied an impressive 11 scores in his first two seasons with the Ducks.

A former 4-star athlete, via 247Sports, despite being 6'5", 250 pounds, he had immense talent and was quickly establishing himself as one of the most dangerous tight ends in the Pac-12. CBS Sports had him projected as a second-to-third round pick in the NFL draft. 

Sophomore Pharaoh Brown, who just returned from a foot injury, and freshman Johnny Mundt, who has seven catches for 162 yards and two touchdowns, will step up in his stead.