The wide receiver position still lacks ideal depth, affording an opportunities for players like redshirt freshman Casey Cain, who may be emerging for the Texas Longhorns in recent practices, including a spectacular one-handed catch from redshirt freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers during Saturday’s scrimmage.
The rep came as Ewers and Cain worked with the first-team offensive line against what looks like the first-team defense. Working down the right sideline, Cain got a step on Ohio State transfer cornerback Ryan Watts, maintained his positioning in a hand fight with the lengthy Watts, then fully extended to bring in the catch while ensuring he got a foot down inbounds.
The throw from Ewers was impressive enough, located where only his wide receiver could make a play on it, but the flash of ability from Cain is something of a revelation — a 2021 signee in a disappointing wide receiver recruiting class, Cain didn’t see the field under new head coach Steve Sarkisian last season after finishing the cycle ranked as a mid-level three-star prospect barely ranked among the top 850 players nationally in the 247Sports Composite rankings and No. 125 among wide receivers.
But despite the modest rankings, former head coach Tom Herman recruited Cain for the ability that he showed on that catch.
“Great natural body control,” Herman said on Early Signing Day in 2020. “Really, really superb hands, goes up and attacks the football. Doesn’t talk a whole lot — Casey’s kind of a man of few words — but certainly lets his play do the talking and we are extremely excited about his potential in the red zone as a big target down there.”
Last week, senior wide receiver Jordan Whittington mentioned Cain as a guy who is “coming out of nowhere” this spring under new wide receivers coach Brennan Marion. “He’s doing great — he’s having a real good spring,” Whittington said. Cain drew praise from his older teammate for his attention to detail and a catch radius that Whittington compared to Wyoming transfer Isaiah Neyor.
Cain certainly showed off that catch radius on Saturday with a play that sophomore wide receiver Xavier Worthy mentioned unprompted in his post-scrimmage interview. Combined with the buzz from Whittington and the evidence that Cain is working with the first team and making the most of it, he could be the surprise player of the spring at wide receiver.