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The Dotted Line: Texas' wide receiver contains untapped potential; 2022 WR targets

Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian was hired, in large part, to fix the Texas offense. His Alabama offenses utilized wide receivers to perfection, culminating in a 2020 Heisman Trophy for DeVonta Smith.

At Texas, Sarkisian inherits highly-recruited talent at the position, but it's a spot that has lacked consistency since Devin Duvernay’s departure. 

On campus

Jordan Whittington, redshirt freshman

FYI: Five stars, from Cuero; ranked 34th overall nationally, No. 2 athlete in 2019 class

Whittington was a five-star athlete after leading Cuero to a Class 4A state championship as a senior, breaking Eric Dickerson’s 4A record with 334 rushing yards in the win. In that game, Whittington accounted for 377 total yards, six touchdowns, 11 tackles and one interception. 

Injuries cost him his first season, forcing the do-everything prospect to redshirt. As a redshirt freshman in 2020, Whittington started in two of the five games that he appeared in, catching 21 balls for 206 yards. He also rushed for a touchdown. 

Joshua Moore, sophomore 

FYI: Four stars, from Yoakum; ranked 96th nationally, No. 19-ranked wide receiver in 2018

Like Whittington, Moore is an uber-talented prospect. He arrived in the heralded 2018 class. He played in the first six games of his first year before an injury ended his season early. He caught seven passes for 53 yards and a touchdown over that time. Off-field trouble forced him to redshirt in 2019, but he put in work quietly behind the scenes to earn a spot on the 2020 roster. 

Moore was the best receiver on Texas’ roster in 2020. He led the team with 30 catches for 472 yards and nine touchdowns. The nine scores tied for the seventh-most in UT history. He ended his sophomore season with five catches for 86 yards and two touchdowns in the Alamo Bowl. 

Jake Smith, sophomore

FYI: Four stars, from Scottsdale (Ariz.) Notre Dame Preparatory; ranked 49th nationally, No.8 wide receiver in 2019

Smith and Whittington were signed in 2019 and the duo should be formidable as a slot tandem if the pair can stay healthy and focused. The Arizona native made an immediate impact as a freshman, hauling in 25 catches for 274 yards and six touchdowns. He played in all 13 games, even starting as a punt returner. As a sophomore in 2020, Smith missed three games due to injury. He managed 23 catches for 294 and three touchdowns. 

Troy Omeire, freshman

FYI: Four stars, from Fort Bend Austin; ranked 241st nationally; No. 43-ranked wide receiver in 2020

Omeire should be healthy for his redshirt freshman campaign after missing 2020 due to an injury suffered in preseason practice. He's a long, athletic playmaker who was pushing Brennan Eagles for a starting position before the injury. Omeire, a former four-star recruit from Houston, should replace Eagles as the go-to threat on the outside. 

Kelvotay Dixon, freshman

FYI: Four stars, from Carthage; ranked 346th nationally, No. 15-ranked athlete in 2020

Dixon and Omeire were underrated signings in 2020. Omeire missed the year with injury. Dixon was regulated to mop-up duty for much of his first season. He played in three games and made one start, but he showed upside in the bowl win with a 73-yard touchdown catch from Casey Thompson. It was the longest reception in a bowl game by a Texas freshman. 

Other wide receivers expected on campus for 2021: Brenden Schooler, Marcus Washington, Dajon Harrison, Al’vonte Woodard, Kai Money, Kennedy Lewis, Jaden Alexis (2021), Casey Cain (2021), Keithron Lee (2021)

2022 targets

Armani Winfield, Lewisville

FYI: 6-2, 180; four stars, No. 12-ranked wide receiver

Offers: Committed to Texas 

Winfield was the District 6-6A co-offensive newcomer of the year as a freshman, catching 27 passes for 376 yards and three touchdowns. He increased his output to 58 catches for 758 yards and eight touchdowns as a sophomore, earning first-team all-district honors. As a junior, he recorded 43 catches for 596 yards and five touchdowns. 

Evan Stewart, Frisco Liberty

FYI: 6-0, 175; four stars, No. 5-ranked wide receiver

Offers: 34

The state’s top-ranked receiver is Del Valle's Caleb Burton, a five-star prospect who's pledged to Ohio State. If Burton is truly off Texas’ recruiting board, Stewart becomes the Longhorns' clear-cut top in-state prospect at the position. Texas must outwork Alabama and Oregon to land his commitment, but an existing relationship with Sarkisian should only help the Longhorns. Stewart is friends with Winfield, which is another bonus for Texas. Stewart has caught 89 passes for 1,670 yards and 16 touchdowns over the past two seasons. 

C.J. Williams, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei

FYI: 6-2, 193; four stars, No. 4-ranked receiver

Offers: 45

Expect Sarkisian to recruit California like it's a second home base for the Longhorns. Hopefully the players brought in from the West Coast fare better than players such as De’Gabriel Floyd (quit football), Cameron Rising (transferred to Utah) and Bru McCoy (transferred to USC) did under Tom Herman. Williams is trending toward Texas thanks to the Sarkisian hire. Sarkisian’s son attends the same high school and Sarkisian was recruiting Williams heavily while at Alabama. Williams caught 50 passes for 684 yards and four touchdowns as a sophomore. California didn’t allow football in 2020. 

Brenan Thompson, Spearman

FYI: 5-10, 165; four stars, No. 7-ranked athlete 

Offers: 34 

Thompson is technically considered an athlete because he could project to defense, but his best upside is probably at slot receiver. He watched the way Sarkisian utilized Smith at Alabama. The two are similarly built and I’d expect Texas to capitalize on the success Sarkisian experienced as the Crimson Tide's play-caller with receivers such as Smith and Jaylen Waddle. Thompson also excels in track. Oklahoma is currently the team to beat for him. 

Chris Marshall, Fort Bend Marshall

FYI: 6-3, 185; three stars, No. 62-ranked receiver

Offers: 12

Fort Bend is considered a Texas A&M feeder, but the hiring of Sarkisian could level the playing field, especially if 2020 signee Troy Omeire excels for the Longhorns. Marshall is a big target who was a basketball player until picking up football as a sophomore. In 2020, only his second year playing organized football, he caught 45 passes for 1,009 yards and 18 scores. He’s a big-play threat with incredible body control. He’ll be a four-star prospect by the summer. 

Nicholas Anderson, Katy

FYI: 6-2, 185; three stars, No. 63-ranked receiver

Offers: 13

Katy always produces offensive talent, but it's usually at running back or offensive line. Anderson is ready to break the mold and modernize the Katy offense. He comes from an athletic background — his brother, Rodney, is an NFL running back who played at Oklahoma and another brother, Ryder, is a defensive end at Ole Miss.