Michigan football's former QB Denard Robinson was fast. The latest WR commit might be faster
From the day he arrived at Michigan, offensive coordinator Josh Gattis has valued speed at wide receiver.
And on Friday afternoon, he landed a recruit who could be a perfect fit for his offense.
Xavier Worthy, a four-star prospect ranked No. 175 overall, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, picked the Wolverines over Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, LSU and Oregon.
Kyle Biggs, Worthy's coach at Central East High School in Fresno, California, says his star player is a "complete receiver."
He also acknowledges the obvious: Worthy's speed is a big reason why his recruitment exploded this offseason.
“He’s fast," Biggs said. "There’s no second-guessing that. There’s no getting around that. He’ll be the clear-out guy. He has great hands. He runs great routes. He’s great at what he does. He’ll block. He does all the little things that you want from your star athlete. He does all those things.
"He’s a complete wide receiver that is really fast. That’s the best way I can put it.”
Worthy, who will be part of the 2021 class, is an accomplished track star, and recorded a 10.55-second 100-meter dash and 21.41-second 200-meter dash as a sophomore.
For reference, former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson — considered one of the fastest players in the program's recent history — had a personal record of 10.56 seconds in the 100-meter dash as a senior at Deerfield Beach (Fla.) High School in 2009.
Former Alabama star Henry Ruggs — considered perhaps the fastest receiver in college football last season and a first-round draft pick of the Raiders — had a personal record of 10.53 seconds in the 100-meter dash.
Had Worthy's track season not been canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak, Biggs believes he would have only improved his 100-meter time.
"He probably would’ve been able to run a 10.2 had he been able to run track this year," Biggs said.
That speed translated to the football field, where Worthy enjoyed a breakout junior season as the secondary option for an offense that also included Jeremiah Hunter, who signed with California's 2020 class.
Worthy torched defenses, recording 54 catches for 992 yards and 16 touchdowns as Central East went 15-0 and won its first state title in school history.
“With what he does, he fits anything," Biggs said. "You could run double tight ends, single wide receiver. If he’s your single wide receiver, you’re still going to be sitting pretty. But he definitely fits. We run all four-wide stuff. Any spread attack, he can play on the inside, he can play on the outside. Fly motions, orbit motions, he can line up in the backfield, he can line up at quarterback. He’s a dynamic athlete.”
Worthy's recruitment began in earnest this offseason. He received his first big offer on Feb. 25 from Oregon. Then offers from Tennessee, Michigan and Utah on Feb. 28, and USC on March 1.
The SEC came calling later, as Auburn offered April 9; Georgia and Alabama May 5-6; and reigning national champion LSU on May 27.
Pretty soon, the recruiting process began to overwhelm Worthy, who had coaches like Jim Harbaugh and Nick Saban on speed dial, Biggs said. The attention and relentless contact from college coaches has "worn (Worthy) out."
“I think he’s done with the whole recruiting thing," Biggs said. "He’s not used to all the attention. He just goes about his business and does his job. His Twitter name is ‘Flash,’ but he’s not a flashy kid.”
While Worthy had plenty of coaches pursuing him, Gattis was ultimately the coach with whom he built the strongest relationship with.
“Really, it was (Michigan's) offensive coordinator and receivers coach," Biggs said. "X is real big on relationships. He has a real close relationship with his wide receiver coach. He wants to know the guy who’s coaching him and have that same relationship with him and be on a personal level with him. (Gattis) also has a track record of coaching guys and getting guys to the NFL.”
In alignment with his "speed in space" philosophy, Gattis has recruited faster players since his arrival at Michigan. In the 2020 cycle, he helped sign A.J. Henning and Roman Wilson, who were timed at 4.46 and 4.37 seconds, respectively, in the 40-yard dash as high schoolers, and 10.73 and 10.68 seconds in the 100-meter dash.
Worthy is the latest recruit to fit Gattis' philosophy. And he could be the fastest yet.
“He ran a laser-timed 40 a week ago," Biggs said. "But he’s not really happy with it. I mean, it was a 4.46. He wants to get down to a 4.3. He didn’t even want to tell me.
"That’s one of his goals, and I think he’s easily going to accomplish that.”