Texas mascot "Bevo" is introduced before an NCAA college football game between Texas and Kansas in Austin, Texas, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Football

Commitment 101: Three-star wide receiver Casey Cain is a high-upside playmaker

Posted May 15th, 2020

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The Longhorns went out of state for the first time in the 2021 recruiting cycle Friday afternoon when three-star wide receiver Casey Cain, a native of New Orleans, picked Texas over a dozen other offers, including Houston, Vanderbilt and Virginia. The Warren Easton High product is a  6-2, 175-pound three-sport star who also participates in basketball and track. 

Texas entered the race with an offer to Cain on April 24. Cain is the 143rd-ranked wide receiver in the 2021 class, per 247Sports composite rankings. He represents the first true wide receiver commitment for Tom Herman’s program in the 2021 class, though Denton Ryan teammates and Texas pledges Billy Bowman Jr. and Ja’Tavion Sanders play wide receiver and on defense. 

The Longhorns’ 2021 class currently ranks first in the Big 12. Cain is the 11th pledge in Texas’ 2021 class. He picked Texas without ever stepping foot on campus. 

“Texas took me on a virtual visit along with the whole staff. When it came to recruiting, Texas showed that they wanted me the most,” Cain said. “I’ve built a good relationship with the coaches that are going to be surrounding me, so that made me feel more comfortable with the decision.”

Skill set: Cain is a versatile wide receiver with the size and length to play outside and the quickness to move to slot receiver for certain routes. He excels at high pointing the football, which speaks to his experience as a basketball player. Cain is also tremendous after the catch, eluding defenders and using his power to create yards after contact. 

“At Texas, I would be a back-side receiver, or an outside receiver, who can win one-on-one matchups and force a safety to play over the top because I’m a deep threat,” Cain said. “They also want to utilize my route running ability in the slot. I’m not the fastest or the strongest, but I know how to run routes and manipulate defensive backs. I can move like shorter receivers even though I’m nearly 6-3.”

Cain is undoubtedly raw. His recruiting ranking and lack of Power Five offers suggests Texas sees something in Cain that other schools were yet to discover. This is either a case of the Longhorn staff finding a hidden gem before Cain’s senior season, or it is the Texas staff taking a chance on a prospect it feels has a long-term future in the new offensive system. 

Immediate impact: Wide receiver is a tough transition in college football because of the added emphasis on blocking and the influx of option-routes utilized by modern offenses. It’s easier to get on the field early as a slot receiver who can help in the return game. Cain seems to be a player destined for a redshirt year. He needs to add weight to his frame to become a reliable blocker, and he’s never been asked to play in a complicated offensive scheme. 

Fitting into the program: Texas needs wide receiver talent with Brennan Eagles the only proven commodity on the outside entering the 2020 season, and he’ll be a senior by the time Cain steps on campus. The Longhorns headed out of state for a few wide receivers in recent memory, including potential starters Jake Smith and Marcus Washington. Cain’s potential to play multiple wide receiver spots makes him an attractive target. 

Recruiting at the position: Texas’ need for wide receivers in the 2021 class largely depends on where the current staff see the long-term projection of Bowman and Sanders, who are listed as athletes on recruiting sites because they start on both sides of the football for Denton Ryan. If the Longhorn staff sees one, or both, of those commitments as future wide receivers, Cain gives Texas a strong trio of playmakers. If Texas wants Bowman and Sanders on defense, then there remains work in front of the staff at wide receiver. 

The Longhorns might go out of state again for its next wide receiver commitment. Texas leads for three-star Florida native Jaden Alexis. The Pompano Beach product is a speedster with legit track speed and is the class president at Monarch High School. His father, Rich, played running back in the NFL. Texas’ top targets inside the state are Ketron Jackson and Hal Presley. 

PLAYERPOS.HIGH SCHOOLSTARSCOMMITMENT DATE
Jalen MilroeQBKaty Tomkins4July 21 (2019)
Hayden ConnerOTKaty Taylor4July 23 (2019)
Juan DavisWR/TEEverman3July 26 (2019)
Billy BowmanATHDenton Ryan4July 31 (2019)
Derrick Harris Jr.OLBNew Caney4Aug. 3 (2019)
Ja'Tavion SandersATHDenton Ryan5Sept. 8 (2019)
Jordon ThomasDEPort Arthur Memorial4May 2
Morice BlackwellOLBArlington Martin4May 10
Jonathon BrooksRBHallettsville3May 15
Casey CainWRWarren Easton (La.)3May 15

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