The Colorado football team is losing one of its top young players.
Late Friday night, freshman defensive lineman Israel Antwine posted a message on Twitter that he has decided to transfer.
"Huge thank you to the University of Colorado and the amazing people that I met in Boulder," Antwine wrote, adding, "I can certainly say that my life has been enhanced by the experience. For family reasons I have decided to transfer to a University closer to home. I would really appreciate your support of my decision."
The Oklahoman reported that Antwine, from Millwood High School in Oklahoma City, will transfer to Oklahoma State and that he's already on the Stillwater campus.
The 6-foot-4, 315-pounder thanked former CU head coach Mike MacIntyre, current head coach Mel Tucker, former assistant coaches DJ Eliot and Kwahn Drake, his CU teammates and the fans, among others.
Antwine turned heads immediately in fall camp last August and won a starting job. He played in all 12 games, 11 as a starter at left defensive end. Although he had just 16 tackles, his impact was greater than that number suggests. He often took on two blockers to free up other players on defense and he ranked third on the team with nine quarterback pressures.
Antwine earned the Lee Willard Award, given to CU's most outstanding freshman. Just the second true freshman to ever start on the defensive line in the season opener at CU, he played 457 snaps — the most by a true freshman defensive lineman since at least 1987.
Prior to signing with CU in December of 2017, Antwine was verbally committed to Oklahoma State. He flipped to CU in the final hours before signing day, however.
With CU firing MacIntyre in November, Antwine's main support system has all left the program. He was mainly recruited to CU by Eliot, who is now at Kansas. Drake, Antwine's position coach, has also moved on to Kansas. Director of football academics Katie Bason has also left CU.
Per NCAA transfer rules, Antwine would have to sit out the 2019 season, but would have three seasons to play after that. However, because CU went through a coaching change, The Oklahoman reported that OSU told Antwine he could potentially be granted a hardship waiver, allowing him to play right away for the Cowboys.