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2016 Texas Longhorns Football Recruiting Class Evaluation: Wide Receiver

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Wide Receiver (4)

This wide receiver group runs an interesting gamut of body types, skill sets and upside.  Texas needs legitimate outside receivers and more playmakers after the catch and the staff found some interesting solutions. Collin Johnson is the class headliner and his senior year injury has made many Longhorn fans forget that they inked one of the nation's dominant schoolboy receivers.

Collin Johnson- 6-5, 205

I've watched enough high school film to grow accustomed to seeing big fast guys.  I'm used to seeing big bodied receivers go Moses Malone on 5-8 cornerbacks.  But I take notice when a big athletic receiver exhibits some of the unheralded soft skills and more subtle athletic qualities that separate the college elite from high school stars.  That's Johnson.  The Californian legacy lost his senior season to a torn labrum, but he has enough on sophomore and junior film to convince me that he's one of the best receiving prospects in the country. Johnson is a legit 6-4 or 6-5, has enough long speed to eat up cushion and possesses elite hands and catch radius.  He's a prototypical outside wide receiver and does his best work down the field turning 50/50 jump balls into 90/10 propositions.  His body control is exceptional and he dominates red zone opportunities.  He's unremarkable after the catch from a stop-start, but his deep ball skills should guarantee him plenty of easy money short routes if his QB has sufficient arm strength to get the ball outside the hash. He clearly understands route running and he'll also mix it up as a blocker. Johnson was regarded as the 11th best prospect in the state of California heading into his senior year (conveniently, California rankings neatly parallel Texas in quality and depth), but his shoulder injury dropped him to 30th.  That's understandable given his dearth of senior film, but I'm confident in his athletic trajectory if he can avoid injuries.  He's an early enrollee already participating in offseason conditioning and he'll have a chance to show his wares soon enough.

His HUDL tape is titled Young Megatron and while he's about 30 pounds of muscle and .15 seconds in the 40 away from that level of freakiness, I'll "settle" for some AJ Green.  Johnson's imperative is to get stronger so college defenders can't ride him off routes with their hips (his frame will carry 215-220+), develop some skills at the line of scrimmage against press coverage and then let his size, natural ball skills and playmaking sophistication win out.

Lil'Jordan Humphrey- 6-4, 210

Lil'Jordan Humphrey may look like a rough physical comp to Big'Collin Johnson, but his skill set is entirely different, doing much of his damage with the ball in his hands after the catch.  Lil'Jordan is uniquely fluid for a 6-4 athlete and while his straight line speed and explosiveness aren't exceptional attributes, his shiftiness, acceleration and ability to cut on the go can be jaw-dropping.  A 4.16 short shuttle recorded before his senior year at a Nike camp isn't common for a 6-4 athlete and it speaks to his flexibility and bend.  That's probably why Southlake Carroll played him at RB as much as WR during his excellent senior season (senior year: 1292 yards rushing, 876 yards receiving). I wasn't sold on Humphrey as a junior at all, but his senior tape revealed that he'd taken significant strides as a pass catcher, he demonstrated good physicality and aggression and he gained good weight in his lower body.

His route running can be...interesting? - but that can be coached up. Humphrey has a role as a big receiver who can do work after the catch in the screen, slant and stop game.  But he'll be a limited, if exciting, one trick pony against better competition until he can develop a more comprehensive set of receiving skills.  He needs to demonstrate some route diversity and grow his overall game - even in a pared down offense. Similarly, if Humphrey can put on another 25 pounds of good weight, he could be a real problem inside as a flexed tight end.  Too big for DBs, too athletic for LBs. The possibilities for him as a blocker roughing up a safety or corner are also enticing.

Davion Curtis- 5-11,180

I'm now well accustomed to Strong's senior season risers, their commitments inevitability followed by Mack Brown era-trained fans grousing about rankings, then followed by that player's ascension up those rankings as their abilities become obvious to even the dimmest evaluator (see Andrew Fitzgerald, D'Andre Christmas-Giles, Denzel Okafor etc)

Curtis didn't see that late rankings bump from three star status, but not for lack of production at Temple. Perhaps because he was the replacement after Tren'Davian Dickson de-committed from Texas for Baylor?  I think his film doesn't lend itself to easy projection.  Curtis caught 44 balls for 987 yards and 11 touchdowns (22.4 yards per catch) as a senior operating in an offense very similar to the one Sterlin Gilbert will install in Austin.  That's because Gilbert installed that offense at Temple five years ago.  The former Georgia commitment has football speed (Longhorn coaches clocked him at a 4.4 40) and it doesn't take many film reels to get that across.  It's more or less the same highlight on repeat.  Cornerback lined up in severe off coverage begins to back pedal at the snap.  Curtis eats up the cushion in a second and a half, the QB releases the ball as he draws even to the defender and Curtis flies past and glides into the end zone.  My first two immediate thoughts: 1) he's football fast and 2) ARE THERE ANY SAFETIES IN THIS DISTRICT?

Curtis looks like he'll carry 190+ in college easily, shows some ability after the catch on a few intermediate and short routes and great first step acceleration on a reverse touchdown, but it's tough to get a read on a speed-based player lined up outside running go routes and deep posts when he'll do his best work complementing outside receivers at the college level.  There his success will be heavily predicated on consistency, short area quickness, creating after the catch, hands and route running.  We already know he can blow the top off of coverage.  "Trust in the coaches" is generally an irritating cop-out, but this staff's senior gem excavation track record and Davion's game speed have me positively credulous.

Reggie Hemphill-Mapps- 6-0, 170

Hemphill-Mapps committed to Texas his sophomore year of high school way back in 2014, but Strong and his staff rescinded those early offers in order to re-evaluate some very questionable prospects that Mack Brown had committed. Strong was widely criticized at the time, but in retrospect, the decision was proven correct. Hemphill-Mapps earned back his scholarship as a junior and it's a tribute to his character and his desire to be a Longhorn that he bore no ill will towards the new staff.

The Manvel product has had a disappointing trajectory in his high school career, putting up better numbers as a sophomore and junior than in his senior year on an 11-3 team.  In 2015, he was Manvel's 4th leading receiver on an offense that had a high level FBS running back (signed with Ole Miss) and a QB good enough to sign with Houston.  RHM isn't particularly explosive, but he's very smooth, long-limbed, has good hands and runs clean routes. While he wasn't featured in a precise offense that allowed him to showcase his best attributes, his lack of production or value-add on special teams suggests that his best upside will be as a chain moving possession receiver.