DeSoto (Texas) High School coach Claude Mathis is one of the more popular names being tossed around as a potential candidate for Texas' vacant running backs coach position.
Whether or not he is a legitimate candidate, Mathis doesn’t have the time to concern himself with rumors right now. He has a state playoff game to win Saturday.
“I am not even thinking about it,” Mathis said. “The only thing I am thinking about is Allen. That’s it.”
DeSoto, the No. 5 team in the ESPN 25 Power Rankings, faces No. 15 Allen at 6 p.m. CT Saturday at SMU’s Ford Stadium. The winner will play for a Class 5A Division I state championship game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington at 8 p.m. Dec. 22.
“I can’t even think about Texas right now,” he said. “It’s not fair to my kids right now.”
The Longhorns are looking to replace Major Applewhite, who was named Texas’ quarterbacks coach as well as co-offensive coordinator (with play calling duties) after Bryan Harsin left to take over at Arkansas State.
Mathis makes sense for several reasons. Not only is he one of the better high school coaches in the country -- he is among the six finalists for the 2013 Xenith National Coach of the Year Award, as selected by the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Selection Committee -- but his ties with the Dallas-Fort Worth area, one of the biggest recruiting hotbeds in the country, could be attractive to Texas.
Getting Mathis on board could make Texas a possible destination for his do-everything athlete Dontre Wilson, an Oregon commitment and the No. 52 player in the country. Texas doesn’t have any running back commitments in 2013 after Kyle Hicks switched his commitment to TCU on Dec. 6.
Wilson, who has a Texas offer, has rushed 279 times for 1,856 yards and 36 touchdowns this season. He also has caught 30 passes for 691 yards and eight scores.
Mathis has proved his worth at the prep level. He has led DeSoto to a 48-16 record in five seasons, reaching at least the second round of the playoffs each season.
He left in January to join Tony Levine’s new staff at the University of Houston as running backs coach before coming back to DeSoto.
Mathis got his head-coaching career started at Somerville (Texas) High School in 2004, before taking over at Austin LBJ in 2005, where he coached tight end D.J. Grant, now with the Longhorns.
A graduate of Bartlett (Texas) High School, Mathis was a two-time All-American (1996-97) and record-setting running back at Southwest Texas State (now Texas State). He broke the Southland Conference single-season rushing record in 1997 with 1,593 yards and owns numerous other school career records.
He participated in the Minnesota Vikings’ training camp in 1998 but his time was cut short due to injury.