Texas Football: 3 Recruits Most Likely to Leave If Texas Hires Art Briles

Zach SheltonFeatured ColumnistDecember 26, 2013

Which recruits would decommit if Texas were to hire Art Briles?
Which recruits would decommit if Texas were to hire Art Briles?Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Hiring Art Briles as their head coach would be a home run for the Texas Longhorns.

The Baylor head coach has taken the Bears from a Big 12 afterthought to the 2013 champion in just six years. In just his fourth year at the program, he turned Robert Griffin III into its first ever Heisman Trophy winner.

At Texas, he has the chance to build an absolute dynasty. The only problem, other than his 10-year contract at Baylor, is how the Longhorns' current recruits would react.

Here are three of Texas' commitments whose roles and status with the program would be jeopardized by Briles' arrival.


The next Kendall Wright would complicate things for current commit Roderick Bernard.
The next Kendall Wright would complicate things for current commit Roderick Bernard.Sarah Glenn/Getty Images

WR Roderick Bernard

A player like KD Cannon, the No. 29 player in the Rivals 250, does not commit to Baylor because he likes Waco. He commits to Baylor because he wants to play for Art Briles.

With big-play ability and top-end speed, Cannon is an ideal fit for Briles' offensive attack. Whether it's on the screen or a straight vertical, he has the ability to put up points in a hurry. He need only look at fellow Mount Pleasant product Kendall Wright to see what his ceiling is in such an offense.

For that reason, Cannon is almost certain to follow Briles wherever he goes. If that's Texas, then Cannon would be the program's seventh commit at the position. Something would have to give.

Right now, that player seems most likely to be Roderick Bernard. The 5'10" prospect from Sharpstown also has elite speed but lacks Cannon's polish at receiver. And with similar offensive weapon Armanti Foreman already in Texas' class, Bernard may decide there is a better opportunity for him elsewhere.


WR Dorian Leonard

Like Cannon, Liberty-Eylau's Davion Hall will go wherever Art Briles goes. If that were to be Texas, the gifted athlete would contribute to the logjam at receiver.

The Longhorns have done a great job recruiting some size at receiver, led by 4-star prospect Lorenzo Joe. They have also added smaller names Emanuel Porter, Garrett Gray and Dorian Leonard—all of which stand 6'3" or taller.

Hall is also 6'3", but has the greatest athletic potential of the three. SB Nation's Wescott Eberts compares him favorably to NFL Rookie of the Year candidate Keenan Allen, and Hall's 4.5 speed easily makes him a candidate to be a No. 1 receiver.

Hall's arrival at Texas would cause either Porter, Gray or Leonard to check on another program. That player projects to be Leonard, as Porter's 4.43 speed and Gray's side-speed combination make them must-hold prospects.


RB Donald Catalon

No running back in his right mind would leave a program coached by Art Briles. That is, unless he thought his role were jeopardized by another talent.

Hiring Briles almost guarantees that Texas will land a big-time recruit at tailback. His system consistently puts ball-carriers in open space, which allowed them to rush for 265.2 yards a game on 5.4 yards per carry in 2013.

Aside from Oregon-transfer Lache Seastrunk, Briles has done this largely with no-name recruits. Rivals rated Terrance Ganaway, who rushed for 1,547 yards in 2011, as a 2-star talent. Shock Linwood, a 3-star recruit according to Rivals, averaged eight yards per carry in 2013.

Now just imagine if 5-star studs like Leonard Fournette or Joe Mixon were to play in that system? Both have yet to commit, and would certainly give Texas a longer look with Baylor's head coach taking over. There would be record-breaking potential for either.

No matter who the name is that gives Texas his attention, he would place Donald Catalon in a much different situation than the one he is currently committed to. With all three of Texas' backs draft-eligible in 2014, Catalon had a straight path to the feature back role.

Mixon or Fournette would jeopardize that plan, giving him reason to find a more clear-cut opportunity.