Moving Forward: WRs

With a new coaching staff headed to Austin, LonghornDigest.com looks at the position-by-position talent on campus. Up next, the wide receivers.

Of all the positions on the Texas football team, perhaps the one best set up for 2014 success is at wide receiver.

Not only do the Longhorns return most of their talent at the position, losing only Mike Davis, but Texas 1) has emerging young talent on the roster and 2) an excellent incoming class of receivers, should the new coach be able to keep them.

Let's start with the returnees. Marcus Johnson, who averaged 15.9 yards a catch in 2013, figures to take over Davis's spot on the outside. Johnson caught multiple deep balls out of the slot this season, and has the deep speed to make an impact as an outside receiver. Kendall Sanders played the spot opposite Davis this year, catching 35 passes for 351 yards and displaying big-time potential at times.

And then there's the perpetually open Jaxon Shipley on third downs. Shipley caught a team-high 55 passes for nearly 600 yards in the regular season, with a number of those coming in key situations. Shipley's value in his route-running means that he can line up anywhere in a formation and still impact the game.

John Harris and Bryant Jackson add two veterans who can play multiple spots as well, though it will be difficult to keep Montrel Meander, who redshirted in 2013, off the field. Meander has both the length and straight-line speed to make a similar impact to what Marcus Johnson was able to make a year ago.

Jacorey Warrick adds quickness in the slot, while Jake Oliver is another big-bodied presence that could be used in short yardage situations, or on third downs. And we haven't even gotten to Daje Johnson, who could be a slot or a running back, or not even on the team in a year. Johnson will miss the Valero Alamo Bowl after failing academically.

Then there's the 2014 class, which is both heavy on bodies and talent. Emanuel Porter is one of the most physically talented receivers in the country, a 6-foot-4 player with legitimate low-4.4 speed. Armanti Foreman fits the mold of the slick, elusive slot receiver that the Longhorns were looking for. Garrett Gray is another big, fast outside receiver, while Lorenzo Joe and Dorian Leonard project as a big, strong possession wideouts. Then there's Roderick Bernard, a speed demon who is still developing as a receiver, but who could help fill Daje Johnson's spot if Johnson can't go.

It's a world better situation than the Longhorns were in just a few years ago, one of the primary arguments for the new coach keeping assistant Darrell Wyatt — Porter, among others, might walk if Wyatt is gone. Another reason is Wyatt's ties to the 2015 class, with a commitment from Keke Coutee and strong ins with DaMarkus Lodge and Kemah Siverand, two of the state's top available receivers.


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