It seems to happen every year.
A handful of skill position players impress at Texas’ annual spring game and are practically never heard from again.
Last year, tight end D.J. Grant caught two passes for 58 yards and a touchdown, a 54-yarder from Jaxon Shipley. Grant had just 14 catches as a senior last year and Shipley didn’t complete a pass all season despite throwing three touchdowns in 2011.
After running for 82 yards and a touchdown, a 60-yarder on the opening drive of last year’s Orange-White Scrimmage, D.J. Monroe averaged more than 15 yards a touch in 2012 — but touched the ball just 46 times in 13 games.
DeSean Hales, who had a game-high four catches for 61 yards and a touchdown in last year’s spring game, left the program last August.
This year, it was wide receivers Kendall Sanders and John Harris who turned heads in the Orange-White Scrimmage on Saturday. Harris hauled in four catches for a game-high 92 yards, 35 of them coming on an over-the-shoulder grab inside the 5-yard line despite tight coverage from
Sanders caught just one pass but he made it count. Facing a 2nd-and-2 from the 24-yard line, David Ash threw across the field to Sanders for a short gain, but the sophomore from Athens slipped out of the grasp of a pair of defenders and sprinted down the sideline and into the end zone.
“That’s what we need,” Co-offensive Coordinator Major Applewhite said of Harris’ and Sanders’ efforts. “We need those Jeremy Hills-types who are the glues of your team. Those guys that have been around the program three or four years, know how things are done and played a lot of football. Those two guys have done a great job. Those are the Chris Ogbonnayas and the Brian Carters that make
With Marquise Goodwin pursuing his NFL dreams and Shipley nursing a hamstring injury, Sanders and Harris got an opportunity to show what they could and took advantage of it. But if Texas wants to have a productive passing game this upcoming season, guys like Sanders and Harris have to get a chance when the games count this fall.
“In our room when a man goes down, the next man has to come in and make plays,” senior Mike Davis said. “That is what we have been stressing all spring. They have been doing a great job of that.”
Now the Longhorns need to trust Harris and Sanders to do a great job when they suit up this season.