A day after it was announced Texas offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin stepped down to take the head coaching position at Arkansas State, Belton tight end Durham Smythe informed the Longhorns coaching staff that he is withdrawing his commitment to the program.
Belton head coach Rodney Southern confirmed Wednesday afternoon that the Tigers’ 6-foot-6, 230-pound three-star prospect decided to re-open his recruiting, calling Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz to break the news to them earlier in the day.
“I think this is kind of something he’s been thinking about, you never know when you go through this process,” Southern said of Smythe’s decision.
There are indications that Smythe, ranked the nation’s 14th-best tight end, will no longer even be considering Texas and will instead look at other opportunities. Though Southern was quick to point out he didn’t think Harsin’s decision to leave played any factor in Smythe’s decision to decommit.
“I think being rushed, or feeling rushed — and I don’t want to put words in his mouth — but I think that whole process is tough on some kids,” Southern said.
Smythe committed to Texas on March 8 after receiving several assurances from Harsin regarding his role and how the former Boise State coach planned to use Smythe within the Texas offense.
“Overall, I just kind of wanted (to hear) it straight from coach Harsin regarding what was the exact role he hoped to implement with the tight end (position),” Smythe told the Daily Herald on the evening of March 8, “and I got those answers and I liked them, so from (that point) there was no doubt in my mind.”
But, as it turns out, there were doubts, or at least there would be.
“This is part of the reason I don’t like the early committing because you’ve got to be sure,” Southern said.
Smythe originally chose the Longhorns over programs like Stanford and Notre Dame, both of whom have continued to make strong advances and appear to be initial favorites at this time.
“Stanford has stayed in touch all along, but I guess we will see who else is still interested. There was no plan to flip or commit anywhere else immediately,” his father, Dr. W. Roy Smythe, told Rivals.com.
Smythe also had offers from Baylor, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska, and Oklahoma among others.
“He and his dad have done a really good job from an educational standpoint of making sure (Durham’s) on the right path, not just football-wise but academically, and where he’s going to go to school the next 5 years,” Southern said.
Had he signed with Texas in February, Smythe would have joined a pair of fellow area Longhorn commits in Harker Heights offensive lineman Darius James and linebacker Naashon Hughes, the last of whom earned a full scholarship this past weekend during his official visit to Austin.
He could have also played alongside former Belton quarterback David Ash, who has been the Texas starter much of the season before injuring his ribs Nov. 21 against TCU, and former Copperas Cove standout Orlando “Duke” Thomas, who saw plenty of action as a true freshman backup cornerback.