Lil’Jordan Humphrey is no longer with the Texas Longhorns, but the next star-caliber jumbo slot receiver may have already stepped foot on the Forty Acres. This is a luxury the Longhorns likely didn’t see coming to fruition, certainly not this soon, but it was one unexpectedly gifted to Tom Herman’s program in late January when Bru McCoy, just weeks after enrolling at USC, elected to transfer to Texas.
The consequence of McCoy entering the transfer portal after a quick cup of tea with the Trojans is that the early enrollee’s eligibility remains unclear, but should it be determined that McCoy can suit up as soon as next season, he may very well resemble the school’s recently departed star receiver, considering he is the closest thing Texas has to 2018 breakout star Lil’Jordan Humphrey on its roster.
That’s certainly the way Texas wide receivers coach Drew Mehringer sees it, as he recently noted the comparison between the two to 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong.
“That’s what we talked to him about (during the recruiting process), what role you can fill for us, they’re similar body types,” Mehringer said. “LJ is a little taller, Bru a little faster, similar skill sets and I was like oh my god, LJ is in the draft I got a great role for you.”
Of course, replacing Humphrey’s role in the slot will be far easier said than done.
When the curtain closed on Humphrey’s college career, his often herculean efforts resulted in 1,176 receiving yards, which is now etched as the third-best single-season showing in school history. It would be unfair to expect any Longhorn outside of Collin Johnson to replicate such profound productivity in 2019, but McCoy’s skill set would, at times, allow the Longhorns offense to operate as if Humphrey never left.
Save for McCoy’s late signature, this almost certainly wouldn’t have been the case.
The early signing period produced signatures from five-star athlete Jordan Whittington, who thrived as a slot at Cuero, and National Gatorade Player of the Year Jake Smith. Whittington has since made the move to running back, though he may occasionally see time in the slot, and in any case, the two are more of your prototypical shifty and speedy receivers that fit the mold of what most consider a common slot receiver to resemble. To an extent, the same can be said of sophomore Joshua Moore, who’s returning from a season-ending shoulder injury and will push for starting reps, though his long-term fit may be at the Z receiver.
In short, Texas would have been just fine in the slot without McCoy, but the ways in which the Longhorns implemented and utilized the position into the offense in 2019 likely would have looked drastically different than it did a season ago.
However, if the NCAA grants McCoy’s appeal for immediate eligibility, which Texas reportedly feels optimistic about, then the mismatches that Sam Ehlinger and the Longhorns often exploited courtesy of Humphrey’s big, physical frame and elite agility should be evident for the foreseeable future through McCoy.
In fact, it’s quite possible that McCoy, who’s now listed at 6’3, 215 pounds — up from 6’2, 205 in high school — ultimately proves to be even more of a walking mismatch than Humphrey become in 2018, as his high school testing numbers are already more notable than the 6’4, 210-pound Humphrey’s NFL Combine efforts.
Bru McCoy vs. Lil’Jordan Humphrey:
- 40-yard dash: 4.62 seconds — 4.75 seconds
- Vertical leap: 37.9 inches — 33.5 inches
- Shuttle: 4.22 seconds — 4.29 seconds
- Hand size: 10 inches — 9 1⁄2 inches
Aside from the size and testing results, though, it’s McCoy’s dynamic skill set that should make for a seamless fit into what Texas now appears to want out of a slot receiver, as detailed by BON’s Wescott Eberts:
After the catch, McCoy can also show the physicality that makes him such a terror coming off the edge, as he’s willing and able to use a stiff arm to punish smaller defenders. His agility makes him a dangerous player in space, as he can change direction and accelerate in short areas much better than most players of his size. As McCoy continues to gain strength, his ability to run through arm tackles will only improve.
And though the 4.62 40-yard dash doesn’t jump off the page, it is a strong number for a player of his size and enables him to serve as an explosive big-play threat — McCoy doesn’t project as just a possession receiver. Not in the least.
As a route-runner, he shows the ability to hit defenders with double moves to create separation. With the fluidity he shows on defense, particularly in his hips, there’s every reason to believe that McCoy can grow in the necessary areas to maximize his elite physical ability.
Sound familiar? McCoy’s senior film reveals similarities to Humphrey, as well.
Considering the convincing similarities between the two and the fact that Texas plans to implement McCoy into the role Humphrey left behind, all eyes will be on the former five-star prospect, but that isn’t simply because he looks the part.
On a scale far larger than Humphrey’s high school playing days, McCoy arrived on campus with a track record of productivity that can now be considered award-winning.
As the headliner of a Mater Dei squad that MaxPreps dubbed as the top high school team in the country, McCoy hauled in 78 receptions for 1,428 yards and 18 touchdowns, all while being featured on both sides of the ball. As a result of such efforts, McCoy was named the MaxPreps National Player of the Year on Jan. 2, and more recently, honored with The Maxwell Football Club/Adidas National High School Offensive Player of the Year Award on Friday.
Furthermore, in addition to finishing as the No. 9 player in the 2019 class, per the 247Sports Composite, the same service considers McCoy to be the eighth-highest-rated recruit to ever sign with Texas and the best since running back Johnathan Gray in 2012.
What better way to begin addressing the void Humphrey left behind than with the type of talent that looks the part on both paper and film?