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Position Preview: Wide Receiver


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HornSports Staff
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Pre-season camp is right around the corner, and it is only appropriate to start looking ahead to the 2021 season. HornSports will go position group by position group as we break down what to expect in Steve Sarkisian's first season. Let's start with the wide receivers:

Departures (2020 stats)

Brennan Eagles (NFL)- 28 receptions, 469 yards, 5 TD's 

Tarik Black (NFL)- 10 receptions, 240 yards, 1 TD 

Jake Smith (portal)- 23 receptions, 294 yards, 3 TD's 

Semi Departure: Brenden Schooler (moved to Safety)- 12 receptions, 140 yards, 2 TD's

One of the first things Steve Sarkisian mentioned when he arrived on campus was that the Longhorns had way too many wide receivers on the roster. Even with Brennan Eagles and Tarik Black moving onto the NFL, the Longhorns entered spring ball with 14 scholarship WR's. Brenden Schooler quickly made the move back to safety, a position he played at the beginning on his career at Oregon. Some unexpected attrition occurred this summer when Jake Smith entered the transfer portal and 2021 signee Keithron Lee was arrested, putting his status with the team in limbo. Lee is no longer listed on the Texas roster. The loss of Smith was mildly surprising, but the junior had been battling injuries his entire career and missed all of spring practice with a broken foot.

The loss of Eagles and Black to the NFL can be looked at a few different ways. Both are 6'3 and profile as big body possession receivers. Sarkisian has made it known he wants to get as much speed on the field as possible. Regardless of their potential fit if they would have returned, the loss of Eagles in particular hurts the Longhorns from an experience standpoint and leaves the Longhorns thin on returning production.

Additions

Casey Cain- #842 ranked player in the 2021 class, 129th ranked WR

Jaden Alexis- #349 ranked player in the 2021 class, 56th ranked WR

Xavier Worthy- #61 ranked player in the 2021 class, 8th ranked WR

Neither Cain or Alexis are expected to make major contributions in their first year on campus, but Worthy will likely be in the rotation right away and could see an expanded role depending on how quickly he adapts to the college game. The former Michigan signee was able to get out of his letter of intent earlier this year and quickly signed with Texas. He has elite speed and could take on an even bigger role with Jake Smith departing.

Returning Production (2020 stats)

Joshua Moore- 30 receptions, 472 yards, 9 TD's

Jordan Whittington- 21 receptions, 206 yards, 1 TD (rushing)

Kelvontay Dixon- 3 receptions, 76 yards, 1 TD 

Kai Money- 10 receptions, 76 yards, 1 TD 

Marcus Washington- 4 receptions, 56 yards, 1 TD

Al'Vonte Woodard- 4 receptions, 34 yards

Troy Omeire- DNP; knee injury

Moore, Whittington and Money are the only Texas receivers returning who recorded double digit catches last season. Moore and Whittington will be leaned on heavily, but both are still looking for consistency. Moore disappeared for long stretches after a hot start to 2020 and Whittington has battled injuries throughout his career so far. Speaking of injuries, Troy Omeire will be fully healthy when fall camp opens after tearing his ACL last August. The redshirt freshman dominated fall camp a season ago and was set to log plenty of snaps before getting hurt. Omeire, who stands at 6'3, is one of the few big body receivers Texas has on the roster.

Outlook

Texas has a lot of bodies and a lot of question marks with camp set to open up next month. If the Longhorns had to play a game tomorrow, 2 of the 3 starting receiver spots would likely go to Whittington and Moore. Dixon, Omeire, Washington, Money and Worthy will have opportunities to cement their spot in the receiver rotation. The big question will be how snaps are allocated. Tom Herman loved to rotate receivers, which is likely part of the reason Texas had so many scholarship players at the position. Sarkisian wants to his best receivers to receive as many snaps as possible, meaning the Longhorns will likely only have 4 or 5 guys they play regularly. The big x-factors will be the development of Worthy and how Troy Omeire performs. If both prove to be reliable targets, the floor for the position group rises significantly. If not, it would be another rollercoaster season for Andre Coleman's position group. 

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  • 2021 Texas Football Schedule

    Week
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    W/L
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    Louisiana
    W 38-18
    9/11
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    Rice
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    9/25
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    Kansas
    11/20
    @West Virginia
    11/27
    Kansas State

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