Word came down late last week that fan favorite and elite punt returner Cameron Echols-Luper had made the decision to transfer to Arkansas State. There, he'll take on the new role of Red Wolves Quarterback. By all accounts the decision to transfer was an amicable one, not made out of a disdain for his role at TCU or because of any negative feelings towards the coaching staff, team, or school.
He simply wants to play quarterback. He knew as well as anyone else that he wasn't going to get a shot at Boykin's job here, not this season, and with the long line of arms waiting in the wings, it didn't look good for the future either.
But we can't blame CEL for wanting to be a quarterback at the collegiate level. He played quarterback in high school out in Auburn, Alabama, and did so at a high level. He passed for 1,036 yards and 11 touchdowns during his senior campaign to go along with 898 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. The year prior to that he accumulated 2,339 yards of offense and 25 touchdowns.
As a Horned Frog, Echols-Luper made a living eating up opponent's punt units, while trying to find a place as a wide receiver, and, for a brief moment, as a cornerback. For his career Echols-Luper returned 47 punts for 536 yards (11.8 yards per return) and one, massive, season-saving touchdown.
Named a 2014 second team All-American in the 4x100 relay, Echols-Luper's elite speed made him a threat to break a big return whenever he stepped on the field. That will continue to be the case for him at Arkansas State.
Now, though, at TCU, the Frogs must work quickly to find his replacement, because if anything can be held against CEL for his transfer, it's certainly the timing of his announcement.
No one, other than Deante Gray and Trevone Boykin, currently on the roster has returned a punt in a game situation for TCU, and it's safe to say Boykin won't be reprising his role as punt returner any time soon. With Deante Gray still working his way back from an injury this spring, the race to return kicks and punts is wide open. That being said, one name has been mentioned before by the coaching staff, and is an interesting name to keep an eye on.
KaVontae Turpin, a 5-foot-9 wide receiver, has been turning heads this fall stepping in for the injured Gray at kick returns. The freshman from Monroe, Louisiana has even received high praise from Gary Patterson. Turpin has also been returning punts this fall, doing that job admirably as well. It seems that, if Gray is still hurt to begin the season, Turpin could find himself in the mix to win the punt return job early on.
With Turpin in the mix, it makes the CEL news sting a bit less, but there's no doubt that losing a guy like Echols-Luper will have an effect on this football team.