Senior receiver Malcolm Williams elects to leave team

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Malcolm Williams, No. 9, recovers a fumble against Rice last year. Williams will forego his senior season to focus on family and school. (Daily Texan file photo)

Photo Credit: Derek Stout | Daily Texan Staff

With the 2011 season right around the corner, several question marks surround Mack Brown’s revamped team, but the corps of wide receivers was never supposed to be one of them.

Just a few months ago, the Longhorns were in line to return several experienced receivers to go along with several hot shots in the new recruiting class.

On the first day of fall workouts, senior Malcolm Williams became the fourth Longhorn receiver this summer to announce that he will not return to the field for the 2011 season. In a press conference, Texas head coach Mack Brown cited family issues as well as academics as the reason for Williams’ departure.

“We decided that he needed to focus on academics and his family, and get those things back in order,” Brown said. “He’s had some tough things happen, things that would be tough for all of us, and then got tougher this summer.”

Juniors Brock Fitzhenry and Marquise Goodwin, along with sophomore Greg Timmons, are the other three receivers not returning to the team. Goodwin has elected to redshirt this season in order to pursue track and field in hopes of earning a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.

Timmons announced in June that he would be transferring in order to pursue different opportunities elsewhere. The coaches have yet to give a reason for Fitzhenry’s departure, thought it’s unlikely the former Giddings quarterback would have seen much playing time this season.

Last year, Williams connected with quarterback Garrett Gilbert 24 times for a total of 334 yards and two scores. In 2009, he grabbed 39 receptions for 550 yards.

“[He was a] good leader, one of the best special teamers we had,” Brown said. “A great smile, one of the guys who worked hard for us.”

Williams would have been the only senior receiver on the roster. His experience and leadership on and off the field will be sorely missed by his teammates.

“Malcolm’s a great guy to have around,” said junior defensive end Alex Okafor. “You’re always going to have a good time around him. It’s sad.”

Only seven receivers remain on scholarship. Of those seven, only three have seen playing time — sophomores Mike Davis and Darius White and junior DeSean Hales. Bryant Jackson, a redshirt freshman, is rumored to be making the switch to wideout after being recruited as a defensive back, while Jaxon Shipley and Miles Onyegbule might be asked to play big minutes as true freshmen because of Williams’ departure.

“It’s one of those things where you pray for him and wish him the best,” said senior running back Fozzy Whittaker. “I’m sad, but I know that everything happens for a reason. He can always depend on us if he ever needs anything.”

Printed on Monday, August 8th, 2011 as: Receiving corps takes another blow