A Texas Longhorns wide receiving corps rendered thin by injuries and attrition will receive a much-needed boost this weekend against the West Virginia Mountaineers in Morgantown after head coach Steve Sarkisian confirmed on Thursday that junior wide receiver Jordan Whittington will play.
The 6’1, 203-pounder missed the last four games after suffering a broken clavicle against Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl — when Whittington went down, Texas was 4-1 with a chance to upset the rival Sooners. Since Whittington’s injury, the Longhorns haven’t won a single game, currently sitting in the midst of the program’s first five-game losing streak since 1956.
When Whittington was injured, he was tied with freshman wide receiver Xavier Worthy for the team lead in receptions (24) and second in receiving yards (356) and touchdowns (three). Perhaps more importantly, he’d emerged as the team’s most reliable threat on third down with 11 receptions for 194 yards and nine conversions. So more than half of his receiving yards this season have come on the money down.
Even after missing those four games, Whittington still ranks second on the team in receiving yards, tied for third in receptions, and tied for third in touchdown receptions. And that’s including junior wide receiver Joshua Moore’s production before he entered the NCAA transfer portal last week.
Whittington’s return provides junior quarterback Casey Thompson a reliable option on third down and over the middle to complement Worthy’s deep play ability, as well as ensuring that Sarkisian has another reliable blocker on wide receiver screens, fly sweeps, and outside running plays.
For a team with a lack of player leadership, Whittington’s return will help in that regard, too.