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WATCH: Texas WR Jordan Whittington posts heartfelt goodbye message

“It’s an honor to say, I didn’t just play at Texas, I played for Texas.”

NCAA Football: Sugar Bowl-Texas at Washington John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

After somewhere between five and 17 years with the Texas Longhorns, wide receiver Jordan Whittington is headed to the Senior Bowl next month in the preparation for the 2024 NFL Draft.

Left “heartbroken” following Monday’s 37-31 loss in the Sugar Bowl to the Washington Huskies, Whittington posted a heartfelt goodbye to Longhorn Nation on Thursday.

“Dear Texas, thank you. Every moment I’ve had here, good or bad, has been a piece of such an important chapter in my life and it’s an honor to say, I didn’t just play at Texas, I played for Texas. Every minute, every day, every year, I gave my all. Now, I feel complete,” said Whittington in the video.

“So after 17 long years, or however long it’s been since I’ve been here, it’s time to go. But no matter when, no matter where, no matter what, I’ll forever be a Texas Longhorn.”

It was, in fact, 2019 when Whittington arrived on the Forty Acres following an historic performance in the 4A state title game for Cuero, earning Offensive MVP and Defensive MVP by totaled 377 yards (43 receiving, 334 rushing yards), six touchdowns, and 11 tackles.

As a consensus five-star prospect ranked as the No. 34 player nationally and the No. 2 athlete, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, the expectations were high for Whittington. Former head coach Tom Herman once said that he wasn’t worried about preserving a redshirt season for Whittington because he didn’t expect the 6’1, 204-pounder to be on campus for more than three seasons.

But injuries derailed that possibility as Whittington had two hernia surgeries in 2019 to repair an issue that originally surfaced in high school. Then Whittington suffered a meniscus tear in the season opener against UTEP in 2020 that required surgery before suffering a soft-tissue abdominal injury in the Cotton Bowl that caused him to miss three more games. In 2021 against Oklahoma, Whittington suffered a broken clavicle that kept him out for four games.

Over the last two seasons, Whittington was mostly healthy — although he said after the Sugar Bowl that he’d been dealing with undisclosed issues this season — allowing him to finish his Texas career with 141 catches for 1,757 yards and five touchdowns while adding a rushing touchdown and develop a reputation for his blocking ability.

Whittington’s 2023 season featured two iconic moments.

The first came on a hustle play against TCU following an interception that saw Whittington chase down the defender from across the field and force a fumble recovered by the intended target, Xavier Worthy.

The second came in the final moment against Washington, a 41-yard catch on 3rd and 10 that gave Texas a chance to score the game-winning touchdown. Unable to pull out the improbable comeback, Whittington’s catch won’t go down as an historic moment in program history, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort on his part.

Only Sarkisian convincing Whittington to stick with football after the collarbone injury allowed those moments to happen.

“I wouldn’t let him not play football anymore,” Sarkisian said in November. “I just know you only get this one time. You don’t get to say when I’m 40 or 50, like me, ‘I’m going to go back and play football. That was a pretty good deal. I should have done that more.’ Now’s the time. You need to maximize that.”

And there’s no question that Whittington did exactly that, earning a shot at the premier showcase for NFL Draft prep in the process.