Longhorns Looking to Freshman Wideouts

In recent years, Texas hasn't had any problems finding freshman help at the wide receiver position.

Consider this: of the Longhorns' three projected starters at the position — Marquise Goodwin (2009), Mike Davis (2010) and Jaxon Shipley (2011) — all three played extensively, and started games as true freshmen.

And while the return of those three players, along with more experienced hands like John Harris and Bryant Jackson, make it to where the Longhorns likely won't need any starting help, it appears that this will be at least the fourth year in a row where Texas leans on players straight out of high school.

Texas signed a stellar three-man (four if you count all-purpose threat Daje Johnson, who works extensively at wideout) receiver class in February, and all four players could factor in this fall.

Obviously all four of those guys are really good athletes," Shipley said. "They've been really good for us so far."

But what makes the class unique is that all four bring unique skill sets to the football field. Kendall Sanders is listed as the primary backup for the 'X' position, with Marcus Johnson trailing him. Cayleb Jones is listed as an -OR- for the primary backup at the 'Z' position. And while he isn't on the depth chart, Daje Johnson figures to find a spot there once he comes back from a one-game suspension for violation of team rules.


So what about those differences? Shipley sizes them up

On Cayleb Jones: "Caleb Jones is one of those guys whose a bigger guy and he's physical and he can go up and get the ball. That's one of the things we are looking for in him."

On Marcus Johnson: "Marcus Johnson, he's extremely quick, has great hands."

On Kendall Sanders: "Kendall Sanders is somebody who I think is just really consistent. He's got really strong hands and really long arms and has a really good vertical."

On Daje Johnson: "Daje is a guy who is obviously extremely quick and a lot of people have seen that so far. He can make moves in the open field and he can play running back, he can play receiver, he can really do kinda whatever you wanted him to do."

Shipley went on to say about his freshman teammates: "All those guys are extremely good and they're just a little different in their playing styles."

And that's part of the reason it might not be unreasonable to expect all four to play a role, some role, in the 2012 season. Jones might have the best shot, if only because his size at 6-foot-3 and 211 pounds brings something different than the other three players at the Z position — Goodwin, Daje Johnson and D.J. Monroe — all of whom are smaller, speed types. And Sanders being the primary backup to Davis figures to get plenty of work in the rotation.

But while both Jones and Sanders were among the state's most highly regarded athletes, Goodwin was quick to caution that once the game kicks off, recruiting stars don't apply.

"The toughest part [of playing early] is really realizing that the game is played a lot faster, and that's it's not high school anymore," Goodwin said. "How many stars you were rated in high school doesn't matter, when you play in college at all. You can be a five star and not play a down. Me, I was like a three star coming out of high school and I ended up starting a few games my freshman year so … it didn't even really matter."


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