When the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners meet in the Cotton Bowl this October, former Longhorns wide receiver Brenen Thompson will be standing on the opposite sideline with the Sooners after committing to Oklahoma on Monday.
The decision by the rising sophomore marks a rare move from one Red River rival to the other and comes less than two weeks after news broke that the speedster from Spearman was set to enter the NCAA transfer portal.
“It’s home, it feels like me,” Thompson told On3. “I’m able to live and play ball how I want to.”
A 5’10, 163-pounder, Thompson was an important addition to the 2022 recruiting class for Texas as the Longhorns struggled to recruit the position effectively after the arrival of head coach Steve Sarkisian in 2021, ultimately resulting in the departure of position coach Andre Coleman, who was retained from Tom Herman’s staff. A consensus four-star prospect ranked as the No. 131 player nationally and the No. 20 wide receiver, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. Thompson committed to Texas in October 2021 after an official visit the previous month over 35 other offers and official visits to Oklahoma State, Oregon, and Texas A&M.
Also a track standout who ran a 10.38 100m in the spring of 2021, the questions with Thompson as a prospect were two fold — was he durable enough to catch a high volume of passes and could he balance the demands of running track and participating in spring practice frequently enough to maintain a spot on the depth chart.
And while the first question won’t have an answer until Thompson arrives in Norman after catching one pass for 32 yards in nine games in 2022, the arrival of two highly-touted high school signees and Georgia transfer AD Mitchell made it difficult for Thompson to strike that balance between his two sports.
“I think that that’s always challenging when you when a player plays two sports — it’s not only it can become physically taxing, you’ve asked him to do both can be mentally taxing,” Sarkisian said earlier this spring.
The Texas head coach went on to say that he thought Thompson’s work on the track would benefit him going into the fall, but it won’t benefit the Longhorns after Sarkisian made it clear during an appearance on the Pivot Podcast that players who do enter the transfer portal do not have the option of returning, a change in philosophy from the previous coaching staff.
“The moment you go in the transfer portal at the University of Texas, you’re no longer coming back, which I think a lot of school will do — kids go and test the waters and try to come back. We’re not playing that game. If you want to go in the portal, go in the portal. Good luck to you,” Sarkisian said.