Texas Longhorns 2009 Preview: Receiver

Dino NicandrosAnalyst IJune 27, 2009

AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 27:  Wide receiver Jordan Shipley #8 of the Texas Longhorns sets up a touchdown with a 68-yard gain against defensive back Trent Hunter #22 of the Texas A&M Aggies at the end of the third quarter at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium November 27, 2008 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Last season, the college football world continued its journey in to the era of the spread offense.

High-scoring offenses were the norm, specifically in the Big 12 conference, where the spread offense boosted the numbers of many of the nation's elite quarterbacks.

The burnt orange boys from Austin followed suit.

Offensive coordinator Greg Davis installed a version of the spread that allowed Colt McCoy to basically control the pace of games with short to intermediate passes that would eventually open up the long bombs.

McCoy put up astronomical numbers, but of course, he had to have players to throw to.

Former Longhorn receiver Quan Cosby had a phenomenal year serving as McCoy's safety blanket.  Cosby finished the 2008 season with 92 receptions for 1123 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Cosby's defining moment was his game winning catch in the final seconds of the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State.

With the loss of Cosby to the NFL, McCoy will likely rely more on his roommate, senior Jordan Shipley, who was granted a sixth year of eligibility this spring following an injury plagued career.

Shipley was just as effective as Cosby last season, grabbing 89 balls for 1060 yards and 11 touchdowns.

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If there was an open spot on the field, Shipley found it very quickly.

Shipley also took two kicks back for touchdowns last season, the most significant being his second quarter score against Oklahoma in a pivotal Big 12 match-up.

Shipley's return was good news for the Longhorns, but many of the younger receivers will have to play a bigger role with the absence of Cosby.

Sophomore Malcolm Williams had a rather quiet season early on, but he really began to blossom late in the year.  He finished with 17 receptions for 304 yards and three touchdowns.

At 6'3, 220 lbs, Williams is an imposing figure and should be McCoy's best deep threat.  However, his route running needs to improve and he must become a better down field blocker. 

Sophomore Brandon Collins was perhaps the best young receiver on the field for the Longhorns last season, catching 35 balls for 430 yards and three touchdowns.

With Collins in the slot, McCoy often looked to him when Cosby and Shipley were covered.  Like Williams, Collins will have a more active role in the Longhorn offense this season.

Sophomores James Kirkendoll and Dan Buckner will also see some more time in the four and five receiver sets that Texas will employ.

Kirkendoll saw some decent time last season, hauling in 21 receptions for 221 yards and a touchdown.

Buckner saw some mop up duty late in games, but at 6'4, he has the chance to be a valuable possession receiver going forward. 

Sophmore Montre Webber and redshirt freshman Deshean Hales will look to eventually break in to the receiver rotation, but will provide some valuable depth at the position for the time being.

Perhaps the most interesting move of the spring was ex-quarterback John Chiles' decision to move to receiver.

Chiles played three years at receiver while at Mansfield Summit High, so he has a natural feel for the position.  He is a very versatile athlete and could quite possibly be one of the best weapons on the team.

Look for the Longhorn receivers to blossom in to one of the more talented groups the 40 acres has seen in a few years.

Next up: Offensive line

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