D’shawn Jamison isn’t the only new member of the Texas Longhorns program who will take reps at multiple positions this fall, as the official roster lists Malcolm Epps as a tight end and wide receiver.
The news about Epps isn’t particularly surprising — the 6’5, 230-pounder was always going to need time to gain the mass necessary to serve as an in-line blocker. And in high school at Spring Dekaney, he mostly lined up as a wide receiver.
Physically, the development of Epps hasn’t happened as quickly as it does for other players, in part because he doesn’t naturally have the thick joints and big frame that often portend fast weight gain. The bigger reason, though, is because Epps was an accomplished basketball player who earned offers from multiple major programs, including the Longhorns. So instead of spending offseasons in the weight room, Epps was on the hardwood.
The basketball ability does show up on the football field, however, as Epps is comfortable attacking the football at its highest point.
With junior Lil’Jordan Humphrey set to spend more time as a slot receiver, Epps could fill a similar role as he attempts to find some playing time as a freshman. The difference in the two players comes down to athleticism — Epps simply doesn’t possess the explosiveness or fluidity of Humphrey.
In high school, Humphrey ran a 4.16 shuttle and posted a 28.4-inch vertical leap, while Epps ran a 4.76 shuttle and posted a 24.9-inch vertical leap.
So the comparison doesn’t hold up particularly well beyond pure height and a shared background in basketball.
From an overall talent standpoint, though, Epps is an intriguing player — he’s tall, has good hands, excellent ball skills, and he was well regarded as the No. 10 tight end nationally, in addition to playing in the Under Armour All-American game. Nick Saban accepted his commitment to Alabama early in the recruiting process.
And now Epps won’t be stuck redshirting his first season just because he isn’t ready to contribute at tight end. Instead, he’ll have a chance to compete at wide receiver and provide more depth for Texas at the position.