When Texas released its Week 1 depth chart, sophomore wide receiver Lorenzo Joe was stunned to find out his name was not listed. He took to Twitter to express his feelings about the two-deep absence.
The tweet has since been deleted, but Joe held onto the emotions he felt that day and used it as motivation throughout the first half of the season.
“It was a selfish tweet on my part. I really had to let it go because I have always been the type of guy that has always kept a positive attitude. So that’s what I had to do this year. Just keep a positive attitude and wait on my opportunity and take advantage of it when it was given to me,” Joe said. "I've just used it as motivation this whole year."
“He was definitely frustrated and we all knew that,” senior wide receiver Marcus Johnson said. “But as a player, you always have to be ready for your opportunity. He understood that and he understood that it may take time.”
Although he took the field on kickoff returns, Joe's opportunity did not come until the fifth game of the season. Down 50-0 to TCU with just more than five minutes left in the fourth quarter, Joe took his first offensive snap of his sophomore season. The outcome gave the Longhorns their lone touchdown of the game.
Joe was excited to get his first score of the season, but the game's end result made it impossible to fully enjoy the moment. And the touchdown was not enough to crack the public two-deep for the Longhorns' upcoming game against No. 10 Oklahoma.
For the sixth straight week, Joe’s name was absent from the depth chart.
After a stout week of practice, his motivation paid off when offensive play-caller Jay Norvell approached Joe with the news he had strived to receive all season.
"I had a great week of practice and prepared hard for the game. I went out there and did my assignments and did what I was supposed to do all year,” Joe said of his practice efforts leading up to Oklahoma. “Before the OU game, (Norvell) told me I would start. I went out there and took advantage of the opportunity. That’s about it.”
But Joe did more than start the game. His performance, specifically his blocking and heads up play, helped the Longhorns upset their rival Sooners and gave Charlie Strong the signature win the program desperately needed.
“One big thing Norvell preaches to us is blocking. When teams start to load the box, it’s going to open up the passing game,” he said of the Oklahoma game. “We were doing so well with the run, the line did a great job opening up holes and the receivers did a great job blocking downfield. That was what we were doing and what we have been coached to do the whole year.”
“It was huge. It was critical throughout the game,” Johnson said of Joe’s blocking. “He’s been making the most of his opportunities. Blocking was what we needed against Oklahoma and that’s what he took advantage of. TCU, he had a touchdown catch. He has been capitalizing in back-to-back games.”
Johnson delivered the first blow to the Sooners, but he may not have seen the end zone if it weren’t for Joe. And he is fully aware of that.
“That was huge. I told him after I scored, ‘That was you. You got the guy out of the way.’”
Joe’s performance helped end the streak of being left off of the public two-deep. He is listed as second string behind wide receiver Armanti Foreman on the Longhorns depth chart for Kansas State.
But he understands the battle is far from won, and will continue to use the beginning of the season as motivation in his fight to take the starting role from Foreman.
“We’re still competing right now. We’re all getting an equal amount of reps and whoever the coaches put out there is who’s going to get the start,” Joe said. “No matter who’s playing out there, we’re all going to support each other. That’s what we do every day. We compete and whoever is playing on Saturday’s we will support.”