Versatile 2014 prospect Kevin Shorter committed to Texas in August, but describes his approach to the recruiting process as "wide open". The 6-foot, 185-pound playmaker from Newton (Texas) High School has caught the attention of collegiate programs from across the country.
Shorter, ranked the nation's 14th-best athlete by 247Sports, is keeping his options open as his senior season progresses. While he remains verbally committed to the Longhorns, the running back is preparing for the possibility of a potential coaching change in Austin.
"I’m keeping everything wide open in case something happens with Texas," Shorter explained. "Like if there was change and Coach Brown leaves."
Mack Brown has led the Longhorns to nine double-digit win seasons and a national championship since taking over the program in 1998, but he's just 13-15 against Big 12 opponents since 2010. The struggles have led to strong discussions that Texas may be on the verge of making a coaching switch.
Even if a change was made, Shorter would still consider sticking with his commitment to Texas. It would ultimately hinge on who was hired to replace Brown.
"It depends on which coach is coming in," Shorter said. "If Coach Brown leaves and they bring in another coach who I know and already offered me at another school, then I'd probably stay with Texas."
Shorter holds scholarship offers from a long list of schools, including Clemson, Kansas, LSU, Miami and Ohio State. Aside from Texas, there are a few schools that he's particularly interested in.
The 4-star recruit lists Texas A&M, Arkansas, Georgia and Baylor as teams he continues to monitor in the recruiting process. He visited the Aggies during the summer.
"College station was great," Shorter said. "I had a fun time. They have a great group of young players and a good atmosphere."
He journeyed to Fayetteville on Aug. 31 to watch Arkansas' season opener against Louisiana-Lafayette. The Razorbacks prevailed 34-14 and Shorter came away impressed by first-year head coach Bret Bielema.
"Coach Bielema is great," Shorter said. "He doesn't beat around the bush and tells it like it is. They're doing a good job rebuilding there and it seems like a nice place."
Shorter leads the unbeaten Newton Eagles, a top state title contender. Through five games, he has 595 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns, along with a team-high 11 receptions for 224 yards and four scores, per MaxPreps.
"This season has been very good so far," Shorter said. "I think we're better than we were last year. I've been trying to improve on a lot of things."
As a junior, he rushed for more than 1,800 yards and tallied 36 total touchdowns, according to 247Sports. Shorter added 58 tackles and three interceptions as a defensive back.
Looking ahead, he plans to take a trip to the west coast for an official visit. Shorter said he will travel to UCLA in January.
Despite his intentions to consider other schools before national signing day, he remains committed to Texas. Shorter explained that he has grown close with the Longhorns' coaching staff since the program offered him in May.
"We had a late start with them recruiting me," he said. "We didn’t have a strong relationship at first, but then I visited a couple times and we changed that. I got to meet Coach Brown, Coach (Bo) Davis and other coaches. They became like family."
Texas' 2014 recruiting class currently features 24 commits and is listed as the nation's No. 7 class in 247Sports composite rankings.
All quotes obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report college football recruiting writer Tyler Donohue unless otherwise noted.