OU TE Austin Haywood leaves program

Oklahoma sophomore tight end Austin Haywood has left the team and will transfer after the season, coach Bob Stoops announced after Monday's practice.

As the backup to starter James Hanna, Haywood was regarded as OU's best run-blocking tight end and had been getting ample playing time in running situations. But Haywood never became a huge part of the passing attack, catching only six passes for 42 yards through seven games this season.

"He was playing some, he was in the mix," said co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell. "We have to move forward with the guys that want to be here."

Haywood was a four-star recruit out of Southmoore High School, located about 15 miles away from OU's campus. He was ranked No. 48 in the 2010 ESPNU 150.

With his departure, the Sooners will enter the 2012 season without a tight end with game experience. Hanna and Trent Ratterree, OU's only other experienced tight end, are seniors. OU brought in one tight end in the class of 2011, Max Stevenson, but he is redshirting this season.

The Sooners do have a verbal commitment from Tallahassee, Fla., native Laith Harlow, the No. 24 tight end prospect in the country, according to ESPNU. OU has also extended an offer to Taylor McNamara, who remains committed to Arizona but is visiting other schools in the wake of coach Mike Stoops' firing. McNamara is scheduled to take an official visit to Norman on Thanksgiving weekend.

Jake Trotter covers University of Oklahoma football for SoonerNation.