NEWTON, Texas – At one point the recruitment of Kevin Shorter was destined to be a Southeastern Conference battle between Arkansas and Texas A&M.
While the Razorbacks and Aggies came sprinting out of the gates in the race for the commitment of the Top247 athlete from Newton, the Texas Longhorns ultimately showed that slow and steady can still win the race.
The Texas staff remained patient while trying to get Shorter on campus. He wound up visiting Austin twice this summer with his Aug. 2 being the visit that put the Longhorns over the top.
Shorter publicly announced his commitment to Texas via his Twitter account at noon today. He had positive things to say about Arkansas and Texas A&M, but the Longhorns are the school with the nation's 190th-ranked prospect in the class of 2014 on their commit list.
“It's just great all over,” Shorter said of Texas. “They showed me they really care about me.”
Shorter is the 23rd commitment for the Longhorns in the 2014 cycle, a class that entered the day ranked No. 11 in the 247Sports Team Recruiting rankings.
He's the third running back take in the class joining Aldine Eisenhower's Donald Catalon and Texas City's D'Onta Foreman. Shorter's cousin and good friend – four-star offensive lineman Terrell Cuney of Jasper – is the Longhorns' lone offensive line commit in the class.
Getting Shorter in the fold was a tag team effort for the Texas staff. Area recruiter Bo Davis made the initial push and Larry Porter made the final sprint across the finish line. For Shorter, it was Porter's straight-forward approach on his Aug. 2 visit that played a huge factor in his decision.
“He sat down with my family and just told the truth,” Shorter said. “He told me how many backs they have on scholarship, everything like that.”
There wasn't any promise of playing time for Shorter, currently ranked as the nation's No. 11 athlete and the No. 23 overall prospect in Texas according to 247Sports, if he came to Texas. He approved of the approach Porter and the Texas coaches took with him in that regard.
“All he said was I had a chance that if I come to Texas and work hard I have a chance to get some playing time as a freshman,” Shorter said. “I liked that.”
As a junior Shorter rushed for 1,810 yards and 31 touchdowns, caught five touchdown passes and tallied 58 tackles with three interceptions and a fumble recovery on defense. The 6-foot, 186-pound playmaker will again play running back and safety for Newton, the preseason No. 1-ranked team in the Class 2A Associated Press poll.
In addition to Texas and the other two schools mentioned, Shorter also earned offers Baylor, Clemson, LSU, Miami, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Tennessee, UCLA and a host of other schools.
Reflecting on the process, Shorter admitted that his recruitment ascended to a level he never thought it would reach.
“When I started getting offers I never thought I'd blow up like I did and it's been fun to see all of the different schools that have recruited me,” Shorter said. “Then the phone calls started. Coaches want to you to call them back at the same time and there's no way you can. Then reporters call and they all ask the same questions.
“I'm just ready for it to be over.”
It's over in terms of his decision. He doesn't expect the phone calls from other schools to stop but he's not going to listen to overtures from others.
Shorter is trying to make it to Austin this weekend – the Longhorns have their second scrimmage of fall camp tomorrow. He has every intent of making the 40 Acres his home for the next few years.
“It's a relief,” Shorter said. “It's not going to slow things down. I'm sure some schools will still call, but I'm done. I'm 100-percent committed to Texas.”