The Longhorns also lose their number three passing catcher in both yards and receptions in running back Chris Ogbonnaya, so the group does have some replacing to do. However, the team does return 5 of its top 6 wide receivers from last season and also adds converted quarterback John Chiles.
Spotlight: Jordan Shipley
When you catch 89 balls for 1,060 yards and 11 touchdowns and are returning for your senior year, you are certainly in the spotlight. While most people realize the great season Shipley posted in 2008, his career records are often overlooked. Shipley has a very good chance to leave the Forty Acres in the top two of career receptions (Roy Williams, 241) and career receiving yards (Roy Williams, 3,866).
Shipley is already number two in career receiving touchdowns with 20 (Roy Williams, 36). He also has the single game reception record with 15 that he posted against Oklahoma State last season.
While Williams, Collins, and Kirkendoll sounds more like a law firm than a receiving corps, all three laid down the law at some point last season. Williams' best game was his thrilling performance against Texas Tech when he caught four balls for 182 yards and two touchdowns. Collins caught 13 balls for 163 yards and one touchdown in the last two games of the season including some very key first down grabs. Kirkendoll also added five catches for 41 yards in the Fiesta Bowl. Each is expected to play much bigger, consistent roles in the 2009 passing attack.
Key reserves: John Chiles, Dan Buckner, and DeSean Hales
Texas Longhorn wide receivers coach Bobby Kennedy says that he likes to six guys he can play at any time. Shipley, Williams, Collins, and Kirkendoll certainly are the first four, but he is looking two more guys who can contribute consistently from the reserves. While Chiles' athleticism and understanding of the offense after playing quarterback certainly bodes well for his transition to wide receiver, he still has not played the position on the collegiate level, so expectations should be tempered. Buckner and Hales both came to the Forty Acres with tremendous fanfare but have yet to show it on Saturdays.
The 2010 wide receivers will have a seasoned look with three seniors and a very experienced junior, but Jordan Shipley will be gone. That experience on the outside should help breaking in a new quarterback as Colt McCoy will be playing on Sundays.
Brandon Collins, SR
James Kirkendoll, SR
John Chiles, SR
Phillip Payne, SR
Malcolm Williams, JR
Dan Buckner, JR
DeSean Hales, SO
Brock Fitzhenry, SO
Greg Timmons, RFR or SO
Chris Jones, FR
John Harris, FR