Texas senior wide receiver Malcolm Williams will not play football his senior season in order to focus on resolving family issues, head coach Mack Brown said Thursday at this annual State of the Program press conference on reporting day for his football team.
In addition, linebacker Patrick Nkwopara and wide receiver Brock Fitzhenry decided to give up football to focus on earning their respective degrees, while tight end Trey Graham, who injured his ACL in fall practice last season.
The big loss, however, is Williams, who was scheduled to be the team's only senior receiver this fall, but missed spring and summer workouts due to those aforementioned issues and made the decision Thursday morning that to forego his final season of eligibility.
Williams was on tap to play some at H-back and inside receiver this year to take advantage of his speed and blocking ability and his departure will leave the Longhorns thinner at that position. The biggest blow for Texas in regards to losing Williams will be his work on special teams, where he was a standout as the lead blocker on kickoffs and gunner on punts.
The decision not to play this season marks the final chapter in what looked to be a promising career after the big wideouts huge performance against Texas Tech in 2008. Unfortunately for Williams and Texas fans, inconsistency kept him from cracking the rotation the following season and when he finally did receive playing time, it was marred by his inability to secure passes.
With Fitzhenry and Williams giving up football, along with the transfer of Greg Timmons and decision by Marquise Goodwin to pursue track this fall, the Longhorns now have much less depth at the wide receiver position than anticipated.
True freshman Jaxon Shipley tore up summer workouts and was also expected to get a shot at major playing time, but all the attrition means that other players need to step up into larger roles.
Those players include DeSean Hales, Chris Jones, John Harris, Darius White, and possibly even walk-on Patrick McNamara, who recorded the only receiving touchdown of the spring game and used his size to effectively shield smaller defenders.
Mack Brown also mentioned during the press conference that the team may have to move a player over from defense to fill the void. Commence speculation about that.
But before that, best of luck to Malcolm Williams and the two other players who gave up football. Once Longhorns, always Longhorns.