Tulane senior wide receiver and starting punt returner Devin Boutte has asked to leave the program, multiple sources close to the Green Wave told The Advocate.
“I am trying to give him a chance to think about it before I say it officially,” coach Curtis Johnson told The New Orleans Advocate. “It was his decision.”
Boutte, who played at Catholic of New Iberia, has not practiced this week and his No. 36 is being worn by another player. West Virginia transfer Trevor Simms, who is listed on Tulane’s baseball roster, practiced as a wide receiver and kicker for the Green Wave, according to various sources at the closed practices.
Simms originally signed with the Rice baseball program in 2012 and also served as the Owls’ backup kicker before transferring to Weatherford College where he spent one year, prior to his 28-game stint on West Virginia’s baseball team. Simms is eligible to play immediately for the Tulane football program since he didn’t participate in the sport last season.
Boutte returned 23 punts and 14 kickoffs in 2013 and was atop the punt returner depth chart in Tulane’s season-opening loss at Tulsa. He was reliably sure-handed in punt situations, never dropping or muffing a single return but averaged just 4.1 yards on the 23 occasions he didn’t call for a fair catch in 2013.
Boutte's absence shakes up the special teams prior to the Green Wave’s home opener against Georgia Tech at 3 p.m. inside Yulman Stadium on Saturday.
Junior safety Darion Monroe is now listed as the leading punt returner. A combination of freshmen Leondre James, Dontrell Hilliard and Teddy Veal are expected to be deep on kickoffs.
The door is still being left open for Boutte’s return, he is still enrolled at the university and listed on the Green Wave’s official roster.