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Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Texas QBs catching too much heat

By David Ubben

Texas has struggled for two seasons, winning just 13 combined games when it had won 10 in nine consecutive seasons before it.

The Longhorns put their hopes in the Garrett Gilbert basket on the recruiting trail, but when Gilbert struggled in 2010 and was benched in 2011, they were left without a big-time prospect.

But has too much blame gone to the quarterbacks? They have the ball in their hands the most, but Gilbert hasn't gotten much help from his receivers.

Texas has recruited some of the nation's best over the past few years, and here's a look at how they shook out:

2008 (three ESPNU 150 receivers): 2009
2010 (Three ESPNU 150 receivers)

So, there you have it.

Six top-flight recruits. Zero impact players among them, though Davis has the most upside of the group and led the team in 2011. Shipley looks the part of future star, and Davis did as a true freshman, but he didn't show a ton of improvement in 2011.

The quarterback play has a lot to do with it, but Texas has swung and missed on so many receivers along the recruiting trail in recent years, perhaps the blame has fallen too heavily on the quarterbacks' shoulders.

Texas lost ESPNU 150 member Thomas Johnson, and has just one receiver committed for the 2012 class, which will sign letters of intent on Feb. 1. Johnson was the nation's No. 4 wide receiver, but he's not coming. Texas is still chasing the nation's No. 1 receiver, Dorial Green-Beckham, but it seems Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri have the inside track in that race.

In 2012, ESPNU 150 recruit Cayleb Jones is set to join the Longhorns. He's the nation's No. 3 receiver.

Marcus Johnson, the nation's No. 79 receiver, and Kendall Sanders are the only other players signed up to come to Austin and play receiver in 2012. Sanders is rated as the nation's No. 10 cornerback.

Can they change the trend?

Cast blame for the receiving troubles wherever you'd like: Coaches' development, poor recruiting evaluation, poor work ethic by the receivers. You could probably come up with a few more.

But it's clear that quarterbacks haven't been the only problem at Texas the past two years.