With the 2013 season kick-off just a little over a week away, Rant Sports is previewing key members of this year’s Texas Longhorns. Today, we look at junior wide receiver, Jaxon Shipley.
It was no surprise when Jaxon Shipley chose to follow in older brother Jordan Shipley‘s footsteps and head to Austin to play for the Longhorns. It was also no surprise when he chose to wear No. 8 as a tribute to his older brother. What is surprising is that Jaxon could end up having an even better college career than his brother, who is undoubtedly one of the best wide receivers to ever wear burnt orange. Even Jordan himself has stated that Jaxon is the better player, though many found that hard to believe until they actually saw the younger version play, and this could be the season he proves it to everyone.
Jaxon has deceptive speed, runs flawless routes, and has some of the best hands in the game. Through his first two seasons on the Forty Acres, Jaxon has caught 103 passes for 1,344 yards and nine touchdowns. Coincidentally, those numbers are even better than the ones Jordan posted his first two years in Austin.
Though named to the 2013 Biletnikoff Award preseason watch-list, Jaxon enters this year as one of the most underrated receivers in college football. Unfortunately, during his first two years in Austin, the Longhorn offense was a disaster. After the high-powered, high-scoring jauggernaut Texas fielded for several seasons, the team struggled mightily to move the ball, primarily because there was no one who could play quarterback, and therefore no one to get Jaxon the ball consistently.
During Jaxon’s freshman year, Garrett Gilbert was sidelined and left the team, throwing then-true freshman David Ash was into the fire before he was ready. As a result, he and Case McCoy both struggled to get the offense going the next two years. In fact, the joke among Texas fans was that Jaxon was the team’s best quarterback his freshman year, going 4-for-4 on the season with 73 yards passing and three passing touchdowns.
But things in Austin are expected to be different this season, and Jaxon is certainly one of the players that stands to benefit the most.
It’s no secret that the Longhorns, now led offensively by coordinator and new play-caller Major Applewhite, are bringing back the no-huddle spread offense. Additionally, all the reports out of fall practice state that David Ash has been incredible and that he is looking like a different quarterback–one that can carry this team to the next level.
If the offense truly breaks out as expected, and Ash is able to sling the ball all over the field as rumors have indicated, Longhorn fans can expect a huge season out of Jaxon Shipley–a season that could launch him from being favorite among Longhorn fans in Texas to the national spotlight.