Chris Beard’s 2022 class is officially underway.
After spending his first few months on the Forty Acres building a staff and rebuilding his first roster, Beard added his first 2022 pledge on Saturday afternoon in the form of elite Lewisville iSchool point guard Arterio Morris, who committed to the Texas Longhorns over Georgia, Kansas and Oregon, he told Stadium’s Jeff Goodman.
Entering the year, Morris was committed to what he called his dream school in the Memphis Tigers, but in mid-January, he re-opened his recruitment, opening the door for other programs to get involved. At the time, Texas wasn’t much of a factor, but Texas Tech was thanks to the efforts of Beard and Ulric Maligi, and Kansas was courtesy of Morris’ relationship with assistant Jerrance Howard.
Of course, all three are now in Austin, which helped Texas not only become a major factor in Morris’ recruitment, but a favorite.
In late May, Morris listed the Longhorns in his top five, alongside his other finalists, as well as Florida. A little less than a month later, Morris officially visited the Forty Acres on June 14, and and month remove from that trip, all signs pointed back to Texas in the days leading up to his July 17 decision when he announced his pledge to the Horns.
247Sports Brandon Jenkins detailed what Texas is getting in Morris:
Morris is an elite point guard prospect who has the upside to potentially be the best player from the 2022 class. With his very long arms and terrific athleticism, Morris has pop to his game and is elusive with his handle when breaking down defenders. His short area quickness and burst coupled with his handle grants him the ability to get where ever he pleases in the half-court game. He is at his best when playing downhill where he is an instinctual player who looks to force the action as often as possible. Thanks to his length, quickness, and size, Morris can also be leaned upon as a multi-positional defender. As he learns to play with a consistent killer instinct and polishes his overall game; mainly his jumper and decision making, Morris could potentially take off and be mentioned in the conversation for the best lead guard in the class.
Beyond the fact that Morris is an elite talent, ranked as the nation’s No. 31 overall player and as the No. 6 point guard, per the 247Sports Composite, he’s an intriguing addition to Texas’ class for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, he’ll be able to help the Longhorns long before he actually arrives on the Forty Acres.
An all-state talent who averaged 23.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.3 steals and 2.2 blocks per game last season while leading Dallas Kimball to the state title game, the 6’3 Morris recently transferred to the Lewisville iSchool, where he’ll team up with top-ranked shooting guard and priority Texas target, Keyonte George. As is, Texas is trending as the heavy favorite to land George, and that should only continue now that he’ll be playing alongside and developing chemistry with a future Longhorn point guard next season.
“I might pressure him a lot because a lot of people really want to see that,” Morris told Goodman of how he’ll recruit George. “Just gonna keep asking until it gets irritating.”
Morris is also friends with coveted Coppell combo guard Anthony Black and could certainly help the Horns in the recruitment, as well, which could see the three construct a dynamic backcourt in Austin.
As far as his on-the-court role, Morris will be arriving in Austin as Texas undergoes another mass exodus with several senior sets to graduate, including guards Andrew Jones, Courtney Ramey, so there’s certainly going to be opportunities on the perimeter. However, Morris boasts one-and-done talent at point guard, but Texas will likely return Devin Askew to serve as the team’s starting floor general, so Morris could potentially slide into a scoring, secondary ball-handler role similar to that of Ramey.
“[Beard] gave me a nickname — he called me franchise,” Morris said of how Beard sees his role in Austin. “It was more of just getting in where I fit in.”
In any case, Morris is an impressive two-way talent, and with another roster turnover looming in Austin, Morris’ talent will be featured early and often.