Big 12: Dorian Leonard

Position battle update: Texas WR

August, 19, 2014
Aug 19
Texas' wide receiving corps lost three players to discipline and one starter to an injury. Who's left? Who's going to make an impact in the Longhorns' opener against North Texas? Here's a closer look.

Contenders: Junior Marcus Johnson, sophomore Jacorey Warrick, redshirt freshman Jake Oliver, freshmen Armanti Foreman, Dorian Leonard, Lorenzo Joe, Roderick Bernard, Garrett Gray, sophomore Ty Templin, senior John Harris

Not contenders: Jaxon Shipley is sidelined indefinitely with a hamstring injury. Daje Johnson is suspended for at least one game. Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander were dismissed from the program before fall camp.

What they replace: Not only do the Longhorns need a possession receiver as reliable as Shipley while he's recovering, they also must replace top deep threat Mike Davis. There's still no word on how quickly Shipley will be back on the field. Davis, who's now in Oakland Raiders camp, finished with 2,753 career receiving yards and 18 TDs. Sanders was supposed to be a major contributor for this group after catching 37 passes for 361 yards and a TD as a sophomore last year.

What they offer: The only proven commodity in the group is Johnson. He offers serious speed; he was productive last season, including in big games, and he can play inside or outside. With Shipley sidelined, you'd have to think Johnson will be the go-to target for David Ash to start the season.

But who knows what to expect from the rest. Warrick, known by his peers as "Petey," has earned consistent praise from Charlie Strong and his coaches and saw a little mop-up duty last season.

Oliver redshirted last season and could be a nice target on the outside with his 6-foot-3 frame. Harris is a guy who made a few big plays in 2013, but has still yet to really break through and earn consistent playing time.

What remains to be seen is just how far these five true freshmen have come in the past few weeks. The coaching staff has repeatedly said publicly that all five are doing well and haven't singled out one or two as standing out above the rest. But Strong has acknowledged he likes Foreman's explosiveness and playmaking ability. Joe and Leonard seem to have a real shot at playing as well.

And then the surprise of the group has been Templin, a 6-foot, 195-pound sophomore walk-on whose efforts in fall camp have been called "unbelievable" by Strong. He played on the scout team last year but was getting first-team reps in Texas' only fall practice open to the media.

Prediction: Shipley will fight hard to try to get back for BYU and UCLA, and he just might pull that off. But in the meantime, Texas goes with a starting four of Marcus Johnson, Warrick, Harris and, yes, Templin. Foreman quickly works his way up to the No. 1 offense with a few nice plays against North Texas. And then the pressure is on for Daje Johnson, who needs to get back in good standing before the Longhorns get their rematch with the Cougars.
Last week, we took a look at Baylor's recent run that gave it the nation's biggest recruiting class.

Texas rallied over the weekend to reach 19 commits of its own, four more than it signed in the entire 2012 class. That tied Baylor for the nation's biggest class. The Longhorns' class is at No. 3, behind only Texas A&M and Michigan.

Baylor's sitting at No. 17.

Texas added five commits since last Monday, including four since Friday. There weren't any headliners in the group, but Dallas receiver Emanuel Porter is the best of the bunch. He's bringing three stars to Texas and checks in at 6-foot-3, 189 pounds.

Our scouts' take:
Porter is a raw, power-forward type. He has great height and is a very good overall athlete, but he has a lot of polish and refinement that needs to take place to develop into the type of player he could be. We like his upside and certainly his measurables at this stage are his best asset.

There's plenty of talk about his ability to make plays one-on-one down the field, which is a must-have for the Longhorns' offense. Mike Davis won't be on campus forever.

The Longhorns added a pair of unranked receivers in Garrett Gray (Marble Falls, Texas) and Dorian Leonard (Longview, Texas). Both are bigger-bodied receivers at 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds (Gray is 205).

Charlotte, N.C., kicker Corbin Daly also pledged to the Longhorns, and Texas mined the juco ranks once again for a tight end. John Thomas is heading to Texas from Trinity Valley CC. The 6-foot-6, 255-pound Louisiana native looks like a solid prospect. He originally signed with LSU out of high school as a three-star recruit, but chose to head to Austin this time around.