As if there was any doubt that Texas Longhorns tight ends coach Jeff Traylor is a rising star in the college football ranks, Rivals is reporting on Wednesday that the former Texas high school football coach will interview for the head coaching opening with the Texas State Bobcats.
Former head coach Dennis Franchione decided to retire after spending five seasons in San Marcos and finishing with a 3-9 record in 2015.
Traylor had sent multiple players to Texas before joining the Longhorns, including 2015 cornerback signee Kris Boyd, Boyd's cousin, cornerback Curtis Brown, and offensive lineman David Snow.
After leading the East Texas power for 15 years, the Gilmer head coach replaced another former Texas high school coach in Bruce Chambers, who was let go following the 2014 Texas Bowl after serving under former head coach Mack Brown and new head coach Charlie Strong at Texas for 17 years.
One East Texas observer said at the time that it would be a "home-run hire" for Texas because Traylor can both coach at a high level and relate to his players.
Traylor's resume certainly backed up the former part of that argument, as he compiled a 175-26 record at Glimer that included state championships in 2004, 2009, and 2014, along with title game appearances in 2007 and 2012. His first team went 6-4 and missed the playoffs, but every subsequent squad won eight games and appeared in the postseason.
Some observers described the Longhorns offense under Jay Norvell as extremely similar to what Traylor ran at Gilmer and he's also had a major impact on the recruiting, playing a pivotal role in landing 2017 recruits from East Texas like Tyler John Tyler wide receiver Damion Miller, Bullard tight end Major Tennison, and Liberty-Eylau defensive end Lagaryonn Carson.
He was also considered important enough to the program's future that Strong took him to Fort Worth to pursue TCU co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie and to Tulsa in the last-ditch effort to land Sterlin Gilbert after his initial refusal. When Gilbert declined the job hours after he was reportedly hired, there was some serious discussion in Texas circles about promoting Traylor into the offensive coordinator role.
Not long after helping land Gilbert and offensive line coach Matt Mattox, Traylor earned a raise despite having spent less than a year on staff.
Hiring Traylor would represent something of a risk for Texas State considering that he's only a year removed from the high school ranks and hasn't yet held a position above tight ends coach at the college level. However, his offensive acumen and recruiting ties clearly make him an appealing option.
The same writer who broke the news about Traylor's pending interview believes that Houston associate head coach Craig Naivar is also a candidate. Some other names mentioned to me by a Texas State writer for the San Marcos Daily Record, Ishmael Johnson (and influenced by reporting from Brent Thibodeaux and Joe Vozzelli), include offensive coordinator Mike Schultz and Sam Houston State head coach KC Keeler. Interestingly enough, another name out there is that of former Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads.
It's still early in the process, but suffice it to say that losing Traylor would be a significant blow to the Texas coaching staff because he could have a critical role in helping Sterlin Gilbert and Matt Mattox adjust to the personnel available and because he's making a strong case as the best recruiter on a staff that included two of the Big 12's best in the 2015 cycle in recruiting coordinator/linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary and defensive backs coach Chris Vaughn.