As one of two teams in the FBS that failed to record a play of 50 yards or longer in 2018, the Texas Longhorns are looking to manufacture more explosive plays next season. One option could be sophomore wide receiver Brennan Eagles, who broke two tackles and burst up the field for a big play in a recent practice:
Eagles caught an inward-breaking route, changed direction quickly to catch sophomore cornerback Kobe Boyce off balance, then spun out of a tackle attempt by another defender before showing off the speed that helped him run a 4.51 40 in high school at around 215 pounds. Now listed at 225, Eagles is a big, physical target.
Also a rare athlete, Eagles ran a 3.99 shuttle and posted a 37-inch vertical leap before arriving on the Forty Acres, so the agility that allowed him to elude Boyce wasn’t a fluke.
As the backup to Collin Johnson last season, Eagles didn’t receive much playing time and missed three games with a hamstring injury that impacted his development and limited him to one catch for 35 on the season. This spring, he’s also working at the Z position, which Herman said on Monday requires the strength to block on the perimeter and the speed to run deep routes.
Eagles has the ability to do both, so even though Johnson and the starter at Z, Devin Duvernay, still have another season of eligibility remaining, Eagles could increase his playing time in 2019 if he could serve as a backup at the two outside receiver positions instead of just at X.
For a former four-star prospect ranked as the No. 10 wide receiver in the 2018 recruiting class, Eagles is flying relatively far under the radar as he participates in his second spring practice with the Longhorns. The clip of his big play, however, is a good reminder that Eagles has the best combination of size and speed in the loaded wide receivers room and that he could be a player to watch this season if his development makes a jump.
At the least, he’s already flashed once through the first four practices.