Former 5-star recruit Erick Fowler leaving Texas

Erick Fowler was one of the top recruits in the country in 2016. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

The top-rated prospect in Texas’ 2016 recruiting class is leaving the program.

Texas announced Thursday that linebacker Erick Fowler will transfer, confirming reports that emerged last week.

“Longhorn freshman linebacker Erick Fowler has been granted his release from The University of Texas and will transfer,” the program said in a statement.

[Fantasy Football is open! Sign up now]

Fowler, a five-star recruit who was rated as the 13th-best prospect in the country by Rivals.com in 2016, saw action in nine games as a true freshman. He played mainly on special teams for the Longhorns and registered only one tackle — a tackle for loss against Iowa State.

Fowler provided some signing day theatrics for UT last year, flipping his commitment from LSU to sign with Charlie Strong and the in-state Longhorns. Academic issues delayed his enrollment in Austin, but the Manor, Texas native was eventually able to make his way to campus in August after preseason camp had already started.

[More college football from Yahoo Sports: Big 12 spring practice summaries]

Fowler is the fourth member of the 2016 class to leave the program in recent months, joining defensive linemen Marcel Southall and Jordan Elliott and tight end Peyton Aucoin. All four players signed to play for Charlie Strong, who was fired after his third season with the program.

Soon after, Texas hired Tom Herman from the University of Houston.

For more Texas news, visit Orangebloods.com.

– – – – – – –

Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!