Texas QB Garrett Gilbert to transfer

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who lost his starting job after two games and then had season-ending shoulder surgery, plans to transfer.

Gilbert was given an unconditional release from his scholarship to find another school. In a statement released Wednesday, Gilbert did not say where he planned to go, but indicated he has visited several schools and will visit more while finishing this semester at Texas.

Gilbert said he talked to coach Mack Brown and the staff and 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."

Brown said he knew it was a tough decision for Gilbert.

"I can't thank him enough for hanging in there, helping the younger guys and being a great team guy even after he hurt his shoulder," Brown said. "Whatever school he decides to go to will get a guy who will work as hard as anyone and compete both on the field and in the classroom."

A junior, Gilbert would still have two years of eligibility to play.

A former high school national player of the year from nearby Lake Travis, Gilbert grew up dreaming of playing for the Longhorns. He was thrust into the national spotlight as a freshman when he came off the bench in the first quarter of the 2010 BCS Championship Game against Alabama to replace injured starter Colt McCoy.

Gilbert rallied the Longhorns in the second half but also threw four interceptions as Texas lost.

He started every game in the 2010 season but threw 17 interceptions as Texas fell to 5-7 and missed a bowl game for the first time since 1997.

His biggest victory was a road win at Nebraska that snapped a two-game Texas losing streak. But the Longhorns returned home the next weekend and lost to Iowa State, starting a four-game skid.

Gilbert had to win a training camp battle to keep the job this season. He was pulled for Case McCoy and David Ash in the first half of a 17-16 win over BYU in the second game, and was loudly booed by the home fans after throwing two interceptions.

Gilbert had surgery on his right throwing shoulder after not playing in Texas' win over UCLA the next week. Team trainers said Gilbert suffered the injury in the first game against Rice and that it got progressively worse.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.