Updated: Garrett Gilbert given unconditional release from UT

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As he takes the rest of the football season to recover from shoulder surgery, Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert could also be looking for playing opportunities elsewhere. The junior was promptly benched after a 2-of-8, two-interception performance against BYU and immediately got shuffled down the quarterback pecking order the following week, leading many wonder — and with good reason — if Gilbert would ever be Texas’ starting quarterback again.

According to SMU’s Rivals affiliate, PonyPride.com, Gilbert was on campus and at the Mustang’s practice today. The site is subscription-based, so unless you’re a die-hard Pony fan, you won’t get the full scoop.

It wouldn’t come as a huge surprise if Gilbert was visiting other programs. It doesn’t look like Gilbert was getting his old job back any time soon, so unless he’s committed to the school, you’d expect him to be looking around at another destination. Gilbert’s injury came soon enough in the season that he should be able to acquire a medical redshirt, meaning he could still get in some meaningful time if he wants to transfer to a Division 1-A school.

UPDATED 5:10 p.m. ET: A statement from the University of Texas has confirmed that Gilbert has been given unconditional release from his scholarship at the school and can transfer anywhere he wants. Below is a statement from Gilbert:

“This was a very difficult decision because I love TheUniversity of Texas and have had a great time playing there,” Gilbert said. “I’ve talked to (Head) Coach (Mack) Brown, (Co-Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks) Coach (Bryan) Harsin and the staff and have decided it is in my best interest to transfer. I can’t thank all of my teammates and everyone at Texas enough for all of their support, but I just think I’m at a point in my life where I need a fresh start.

“Coach Brown was very understanding and granted me a release to take some visits while I decide where I’m going to transfer to. That’s what I’ll be doing while I continue school at Texas this semester. I’m excited to focus on getting my shoulder back to 100 percent and to decide where my next step will be, but I will always be thankful for my opportunity at Texas and be pulling for all of my friends and family in the Longhorns program.”