Former Oklahoma TE Grant Calcaterra returning to football, commits to Auburn

Sam Cooper
·2 min read

Former Oklahoma tight end Grant Calcaterra is heading to the SEC.

Calcaterra, an all-Big 12 player who announced his retirement from football last November due to multiple concussions, announced Wednesday that he has committed to resume his playing career at Auburn.

Almost exactly a year ago, Calcaterra announced in a video message that he would be stepping away from the game of football. He said he spent “countless hours” with medical professionals at OU and around the country and ultimately decided that it would be best for him to retire.

However, in August, Calcaterra announced that he would be returning to football. Calcaterra said he spoke with his coaches at Oklahoma and decided to enter the transfer portal. Three months later, Calcaterra found a home playing for the Auburn Tigers.

Oklahoma tight end Grant Calcaterra (80) hauls in a touchdown pass from quarterback Kyler Murray in front Texas defensive back Brandon Jones during the first half of the Big 12 Conference championship NCAA college football game on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)
Oklahoma tight end Grant Calcaterra (80) was an all-conference selection in 2018. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)

It’s a significant pickup for Auburn. Calcaterra earned first-team all-Big 12 honors in 2018 when he caught 26 passes for 396 yards and six touchdowns, including the decisive score in the Big 12 title game against Texas. Calcaterra also had 10 catches for 162 yards and three touchdowns in 2017 as a freshman.

In 2019, he was limited to just five games. Calcaterra’s last game in an Oklahoma uniform was Oct. 5 of last year against Kansas. In his video, he said he suffered his “fair share” of concussions over the years, including one at practice about a month before he announced his retirement.

“I spent countless hours visiting with OU medical professionals and specialists around the country. Ultimately, we came to the conclusion that it would be best for me to step away from the game,” Calcaterra said. “This is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life.”

When he announced his return, Calcaterra said his “love and passion” for football and his “desire to accomplish [his] goals” ultimately spurred him back to the field.

It is not immediately clear how many years of eligibility Calcaterra will have at Auburn. Calcaterra graduated from Oklahoma, so he should be immediately eligible. The NCAA is expected to finally adopt the one-time transfer exception in January, which would also make Calcaterra eligible for Auburn in 2021.

Calcaterra said last month that he was planning to enroll at his new school in January.

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