Most Important Texas Players is counting down the top-10 most important players for Longhorn success this season. At No. 8 is savvy freshman receiver Jaxon Shipley.

8) Jaxon Shipley, wide receiver

There's this problem with siblings: everyone wants to compare the two, and often they're just different. That can be an especially big problem with brother No. 1 sets a huge precedent for No. 2 to have to follow (hi, Case McCoy!).

And so I'll be the first to say that Jaxon Shipley isn't Jordan Shipley. Jordan was one of the top slot receivers in the history of college football, an absolutely impeccable route runner who cut like a slalom skier and had a flair for making the absolutely huge play when the Longhorns needed it most.

Jaxon is built differently. He's bigger and stronger, and may even be a bit faster. He isn't quite as quick as Jordan is, and while he's an excellent route runner, he's not on Jordan's level. He is more competitive in jump ball situations.

But they also have some similarities. Both are ideal slot types, guys who can find holes in zones, get open and open up lanes for other receivers. And that's where Jaxon's value comes in for this Texas team. The Longhorns will have a talented (but young) group on the outside with players like Mike Davis, Darius White, John Harris and Miles Onyegbule. But none of those players have proven (yet) that they can get open down the field with any consistency.

That's what makes Shipley the most important of the group. Because if he's able to get open, that means that he'll put the above group in one-on-one situations. And even more importantly, he can serve as a reliable security blanket for a young quarterback.

With the receivers on roster, it appears that Shipley might just start at Texas from Day One. And how well he plays on the inside just might determine how well the Longhorns are able to stretch the field on the outside.

That's a lot to put on any player, much less a true freshman. But if there's one area where Jaxon is exactly like his brother, it's that he has a competitive nature. He'll be fine.

Horns Digest Top Stories