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With hype aplenty, Texas football turns to Xavier Worthy to 'add a lot of explosion to the offense'

Back on Aug. 18, Texas freshman Xavier Worthy wasn't feeling well.

Because of that illness — which a UT spokesman emphasized wasn't COVID-related — Worthy didn't participate in the Longhorns' open football practice at Royal-Memorial Stadium. So fans will have to wait a bit longer to get their first glimpse of a wide receiver who's already making a name for himself.

Before taking his first college snap, Worthy signed a name, image and likeness deal with Orangebloods.com. He also launched a "TRF Threadz" clothing line, which sells T-shirts and hoodies promoting Worthy as "The Real Flash."

His teammates rave about his potential.

Texas wide receiver Xavier Worthy, who markets himself as "The Real Flash," has caught the attention of his teammates in preseason practices.

Bijan Robinson has made comparisons to Jerry Jeudy of the Denver Broncos. Roschon Johnson predicted that Worthy will "add a lot of explosion to the offense." Joshua Moore said Worthy reminded him of himself.

"That dude right there's another Tyreek Hill in college," Texas defensive lineman Keondre Coburn proclaimed.

So we know Worthy is good at catching the attention of others. How he catches footballs, though, is what will eventually determine his standing among the Longhorns.

Moore is back after leading Texas last season in receptions (30), receiving yards (472) and touchdown catches (nine). Brennan Eagles (28 receptions, 469 yards) left school early. Jake Smith (23 catches, 294 yards) transferred to USC. Tarik Black (10 receptions, 240 yards) is trying to make the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent.

Xavier Worthy was recruited by Steve Sarkisian when he was Alabama's offensive coordinator. "One of the things about X, everybody, when you watch him, you can see the speed, you can see the explosiveness," Sarkisian said.

Last year, Texas receivers converted 145 receptions into 2,063 yards and 23 touchdowns. If you factor in Brenden Schooler's move to defense, the Longhorns enter this season needing to replace 50% of those catches, 55% of those yards and 48% of those scores. 

Enter Worthy, a 6-foot-1, 160-pound Californian who ran a 10.55-second 100-meter dash as a high school sophomore.

Worthy was a late addition to UT's 2021 recruiting class. The four-star talent signed with Michigan, but he was released from his letter of intent due to what he said were "circumstances beyond my control."

He reopened his recruitment April 15. Nine days later, he committed to Texas.

Texas coach Steve Sarkisian had recruited Worthy while he was still the offensive coordinator at Alabama. Sarkisian said Worthy and his mother reached out to him after the breakup with Michigan.

"There had already been a pretty significant relationship there," Sarkisian said. "I think he already knew the style of offense that we had because I had recruited him before. He's come right in and has gone for it.

"One of the things about X, everybody, when you watch him, you can see the speed, you can see the explosiveness. Probably the most impressive thing that he's done in the short amount of time that he's been here is learn. He really has a really good understanding of the offense, and he can play multiple positions."

Due to the pandemic, Worthy did not play football during his senior year of high school. But as a junior at Fresno's Central East High in 2019, he recorded 55 receptions, 992 yards and 16 touchdowns and led the Grizzlies to a state championship.

Central East coach Kyle Biggs told the Detroit Free Press: "He’s a complete wide receiver that is really fast. That’s the best way I can put it."

More:By teaching concepts, Texas’ Steve Sarkisian can lean into a ‘positionless’ passing game

In a recent interview with Orangebloods, Worthy said he had been running routes in the slot and getting reps among the outside receivers throughout UT's preseason camp. Texas assistant coach Jeff Banks, who surmised that Worthy was "like a junior, football IQ-wise," has worked the freshman out with the return specialists on special teams.

Worthy told Orangebloods that he thinks he has moved up the depth chart this month. With the season opener a week away, fans will soon get to see if he can live up to his teammates' hype. 

"He can, honestly, he can do pretty much anything," Johnson said. "I haven't seen any weak points in his game."