Did Texas Longhorns junior wide receiver Xavier Worthy play the last home game of his career at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Friday’s 57-7 win over the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
A Sunday post from his mother on Twitter certainly seemed to indicated as much.
The 6’1, 172-pound standout is projected as a potential first-round selection in the 2024 NFL Draft and has been considered a candidate to declare as an underclassman since putting together a monster freshman season.
A consensus four-star prospect ranked as the No. 62 player overall and the No. 8 wide receiver in the 2021 recruiting class, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Worthy initially signed with Michigan out of Fresno (Calif.) Central East, but received a release from his National Letter of Intent four months later and immediately committed to new Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian.
The decision paid off for both parties as Worthy immediately became the best wide receiver for the Longhorns with 62 receptions for 981 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2021, single-season school freshman records in each category that earned Worthy first-team All-Big 12 recognition, Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year honors (the first Texas player to do so since Colt McCoy in 2006), and a spot on multiple Freshman All-American teams. Worthy’s top-end speed and electric ability in the open field helped him produce 15 plays of 20 or more yards, seven of which went for touchdowns.
Playing through a broken hand as a sophomore, Worthy’s production dropped as a sophomore to 60 receptions for 760 yards and nine touchdowns as he dropped seven passes and had issues tracking the football, but did begin to show promise as a punt returner in taking over that role with 15 punt returns for 146 yards.
Despite scrubbing Texas references from his social media, remaining noncommittal about a return, and dropping three passes in the Alamo Bowl loss to Washington, sparking a social media firestorm, Worthy did return to the Forty Acres for offseason conditioning to finally quash rumors about a potential departure.
Worthy bounced back as a junior with 67 catches for 883 yards and five touchdowns during the regular season with three drops against BYU serving as the primary blemish on a season that produced a significantly improved reception rate. On punt returns, Worthy emerged as a dangerous weapon with a 74-yard punt return for a touchdown in the win over the Cougars and a punt return touchdown called back via penalty in the win over the Cyclones that featured Worthy reaching 22.7 miles per hour, the highest speed of any player in college football this season. For the year, Worthy is averaging 17.9 yards per return with 20 returns for 358 yards, adding value to his NFL draft stock by proving that he’s an impact player in the return game.
The overall production has come despite Worthy battling through lower leg injuries for much of the season — in the regular-season finale against Texas Tech, Worthy hobbled off the field before halftime only to return to the game in the second half to produce a 15-yard punt return and a 24-yard punt return.