There has been a lot of talk about Garrett Gilbert, Connor Wood, Case McCoy and this upcoming season being crucial for setting the tone of Longhorn football this decade.
The quarterback position has been the big question mark with most fans. Regardless of who wins the starting job, the supporting cast is going to be important to make this high powered offense come back to greatness.
The wide receiver position never took off last season with Gilbert and the stats clearly show that. Here's a quick look at how Texas stacked up against the rest of the Big 12 in terms of receiving:
| 2010 season ||Receptions||Reception Yards||Yards/Game||1st Downs||Longest Catch|
|Big 12 Leader ||414||4,812||375.5||199||94|
Texas went from being in the top 3 of all those stats in 2009 to near the bottom of the pack last year.
Colt McCoy was a great quarterback, but he had tremendous help from outstanding receivers like James Kirkendoll and Jordan Shipley. Whoever becomes the starting quarterback will have to break away from man coverage and depend on his wide receivers to make plays when needed.
Offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin's philosophy toward using receivers is one that the Big 12 hasn't seen before. He has said before that it takes the same amount of work to plan a long pass as a short pass, so why not use a long pass and try to score with it.
This will require the offense to get the best out of its receivers for every single play—and it can be done. Mike Davis has shown flashes of brilliance and will be a big threat down field in 2011. Jaxon Shipley promises to be just as athletic as his older brother was during his tenure.
Both of these guys have deep threat ability and should embarrass even the top defenses in the conference. With Marquise Goodwin using his redshirt this season to focus on track, the current rotation will have to step it up.
But the incoming class of 2012 has a lot of talent lined up for Mack Brown to use. I've already written an article about the talented quarterback Connor Brewer. Now it's time to take a look at the receivers that he will be targeting over the next few years.
Cayleb Jones, a 6'3'' 198 pound receiver from Austin High School, is going to be a dangerous player when he arrives on campus.
What he lacks in speed he absolutely makes up for in his ability to go after high passes. His highlight films show his ability to stop and go with man coverage and he is a huge target despite his perceived size.
Jones could easily play the same role Titus Young played in Harsin's offense during the 2010 season and will be a deep threat—as well as a slot receiving threat—when he makes it to campus.
If Brewer and Jones form a friendship like McCoy and Shipley did, then god help any opposing defense that dares to shut them down.
But wait, there's more. Thomas Johnson is another equally talented wide receiver that is sure to turn heads in 2012.
Johnson missed most of the season with an injury to his knee, so his senior year will be very important for his development. Of the games he did play in, he showed an above average elusiveness in his route running and has a ceiling of being a number two receiver.
It will be interesting to see how Harsin will utilize these receivers in the upcoming years. Former Boise State players Austin Pettis and Titus Young were underrated stars at their position, but played an essential role in the the Broncos great 2010 season.
Could Jones and Johnson become the next dynamic duo? We'll see in 2012.