By Evan Mohl

Killeen Daily Herald

COPPERAS COVE – Brandin Byrd and Brelan Chancellor are hard to separate.

The best friends have played on the same football team for all but four years when Chancellor moved away from Copperas Cove during junior high. And when they're not on the gridiron, Chancellor and Byrd are most likely hanging out – or at least texting.

Byrd and Chancellor even verbally committed to the same college at the same time.

The Bulldawg seniors gathered in coach Jack Welch's office last month and over the phone gave University of North Texas coach Todd Dodge their word to play for the Mean Green.

"It was great," Chancellor said. "Brandin and I were kind of looking at each other and smiling. I think we were at a loss for words."

The day turned out to be even better for Byrd, who was celebrating his birthday.

"It was really cool day, especially with my birthday," Byrd said. "To do that, a big step in life, with somebody you've been playing with since third grade, was awesome."

The duo hopes to capture some of its rebuilding magic at North Texas. The Mean Green are in desperate need of help with just a 3-21 record in three years under Dodge. They've lost 11 straight Sun Belt Conference games.

Byrd and Chancellor played on the same City League team and won just a single game in two years. This past season, they were integral members in Cove's state semifinal run last season, the furthest a Bulldawg football squad has ever advanced in Class 5A.

"I'm looking forward to being a part of the rebuilding process," Byrd said. "It's exciting and I think Coach Dodge has the team going in the right direction."

Both players earned District 12-5A First-Team selections. Byrd (5-11, 190) rushed for 1,049 yards (6.7 per carry) and 11 touchdowns. And all this came on top of a battle with an injury.

Cove offensive coordinator Tracy Welch called Byrd the running back with the best vision since former Bulldawg Vontez Duff, who starred at Notre Dame.

Chancellor averaged just under eight yards per carry for 10 touchdowns on his way to 715 yards on the ground. The 5-foot-9, 165-pound slot back also caught nine passes for 125 yards and two TDs.

"He's so shifty," Jack Welch said. "He's a playmaker."

Welch added he thought both should fit in well with Dodge's spread offense.

"They can come in and play in that offense," Welch said. "They'll be good fits."

Chancellor is known as a sure-handed receiver who can make anybody miss. Byrd is a downhill, slashing runner who has been

successful catching the ball out of the backfield.

"I want the ball in my hands in the open field, and that's what the offense is all about," Chancellor said.

Chancellor and Byrd are the third and fourth players to commit to North Texas. Quarterback Javia Hall and offensive lineman Graylin Hawkins of Dallas Skyline, decided earlier this year.

Both Chancellor (Idaho) and Byrd (Louisiana Tech, Louisiana Monroe) were considering other schools, but they decided to make their decision early to avoid all the recruiting hoopla.

"I wanted to focus on the season and my team," Chancellor said. "I heard it could get pretty crazy, so I wanted to get it out of the way."

Contact Evan Mohl at or (254) 501-7564.

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