According to multiple reports, former five-star wideout Cayleb Jones departed the Texas Longhorns program to pursue greener pastures. Jones was accused of assault of a former girlfriend’s new romantic interest — who just so happened to be a Texas tennis player — in the off-season, and didn’t have much of a role on the Texas offense in 2012.
With Jones’ departure, the door is wide open for some of the less experienced wideouts on the Texas roster to step up and show what they can do in what will be extended opportunity this fall, by default. The next step down the depth chart from Jones, who was nominally slotted as the third receiver behind Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley, belongs to Bryant Jackson and Kendall Sanders, who, coincidentally, was also involved in extra-curriculars earlier in the fall when he was arrested for a DUI in College Station.
Of the two, it’s a toss-up on who could emerge as a legitimate third option for David Ash with Jones’ departure, but it’s an absolute both will be given the extra plays– not only this summer in 7-on-7 and non-mandatory work– but in a few weeks when fall practice gets started.
It’s less likely, but still possible, opportunity could be there for true freshmen Jacorey Warrick and Jake Oliver to rise to the occasion and enter into the mix with Sanders and Jackson for some playing time in 2013. For this to happen, however, one of the pair would need to show an advanced understanding of the new, elaborate up-tempo offense that would trump either of the upperclassmen. This seems far-fetched.
The new depth chart hole also could help Texas coaches decide how to use multi-talented sophomore Duke Thomas. Presumably, Thomas will be seeing more snaps on the offensive side of the ball in 2013 (he played in the secondary, sparingly, in 2012). Could Thomas be the answer as the 3rd wideout?
As is evident, there are plenty of new questions for the Texas coaching staff to answer now at a position where depth was already a concern. Prior to a season where the future of many hangs in the balance, this new question must be answered quickly and with confidence.