Texas received news that only adds more salt in the wound after Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma.
Star receiver Jordan Whittington is set to have surgery on his clavicle after going down in the fourth quarter against Oklahoma. Head coach Steve Sarkisian told the media on Monday that there is no timetable for the injury, but it is one that will likely keep him out for an extended amount of time.
Unfortunately, Whittington has been unable to avoid the injury bug during his collegiate career up to this point, as he played in the same amount of games this season (six), as he did in the first two years combined. The sophomore out of Cuero, Texas was poised to have a big season if he could stay healthy.
He is currently tied with Xavier Worthy for the most catches on the team with 24, and is second on the team in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. He is clearly a huge loss for the Longhorns, as the receiver group has struggled at times to be consistent.
Whittington was quarterback Casey Thompson’s most reliable option on third down, as he had nine third down receptions on the season. The Longhorns lost a good one, and will need someone to step up to fill the void.
Here are four players that can step up and possibly fill the shoes of Whittington.
Marcus Washington, WR
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The junior out of St. Louis has yet to really breakout, as he currently has two catches for 23 yards, but he has often been buried on the depth chart. Texas’ coaching staff likes his ability to block for the run or even on bubble screens, like the one he was blocking on the first play of the game that Xavier worthy ran for a touchdown.
Washington has nine career catches for 112 yards and one touchdown, but is someone who may be poised to get more opportunities to produce. He almost had a touchdown against Oklahoma, but was unable to get a foot down in bounds. He was quite the playmaker in high school, and along with being a two-sport athlete that also ran track, he was a two-way player as well. He totaled 132 catches for 2,527 yards and 39 touchdowns in his career, and should receive a higher volume of catches with the Whittington injury.
Kelvontay Dixon, WR
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Dixon is someone who many thought had the possibility to be a key contributor this year due to his high level speed, and the performance we saw in the Alamo Bowl from him. He, like Washington, has not been heavily used this season recording just three catches for 48 yards in the first two games.
Dixon is one of the fastest player on the team, and when put in the game against Arkansas, seemed to have a good connection with Casey Thompson. Having someone like Dixon who can blow by everyone, along with Xavier Worthy, should be very tempting for Sarkisian to use. Dixon was a two-sport athlete in high school and had multiple 1,000 yard receiving seasons. He has the ability to make big plays after the catch, and we may be hearing his name come Saturday.
Keilan Robinson, RB
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The junior Alabama transfer has been electric seemingly every time he takes the field, whether it be in the backfield, jet sweeps, or even on special teams. He is likely the fastest player on the team, and when he transferred over to Austin, one of the notes that stood out was the fact that he could be lined up as a receiver. Now he likely won’t see a large amount of snaps from the receiver position, but he is a viable option.
Robinson is someone who should likely be getting more touches, and like Roschon Johnson, was mysteriously not used against Oklahoma at all. Robinson is an Antonio Gibson style of player that can be put all over the field, and he is certain to produce big plays with the ball in his hands.
Joshua Moore, WR
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Moore is likely poised for the biggest upswing in production, as the teams leading receiver from last year had what was his breakout game of the season against Oklahoma. He hauled in four catches for 70 yards and two touchdowns against the Sooners.
Moore has always possessed the talent, but he and the quarterbacks have simply been unable to connect at a consistent rate up until the game against Oklahoma. There is no surprise there, as Thompson was not finding success on deep passes prior to the Oklahoma game, going 3-of-15 on passes over 20 yards before Saturday.
Moore was the most experienced receiver going into the season, and many expected him to pick up where he left off last season, but he simply did not have the chances to. Losing a receiver like Whittington hurts, but Texas has only been relying on Worthy and Whittington consistently, as they both had 10 more catches than Moore, so having someone as talented and experienced as Moore to fill the role is very much a positive.