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July 28, 2009

Breaking down the last 10 years at receiver

With the wide receiver position ranking as one of the biggest needs for the Texas Longhorns in 2010 recruiting, Orangebloods.com thought it would kick off an exclusive series of articles that takes a look back at the last 10 years of recruiting inside the state of Texas at each position on the field.

The state's top-rated player in 2009 is a wide receiver, but what has that type of acclaim meant in terms of actual performance on the field? How has the talent panned out over the years? That's what we're about to find out.

Class of 2000

1. B.J. Johnson - South Grand Prairie - Signed with Texas

A four-year starter, Johnson never developed into a superstar for the Longhorns, but was still one of the top receivers in school history. In 49 career games (45 starts) at Texas, Johnson made 152 receptions for 2,389 yards (15.7) and 16 touchdowns.

2. Roy Williams - Odessa Permian - Signed with Texas

A four-year starter for the Longhorns, Williams set UT career records for receptions (241), receiving yards (3,866), TD receptions (36), consecutive games with a reception (47/tied NCAA Record) and 100-yard receiving games (16). Williams was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the first round of the 2004 Draft and was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2006.

3. Sloan Thomas - Klein - Signed with Texas

As the third member of the "Big 3," Thomas finished his collegiate career in Austin with 88 catches for 1,362 yards and 12 TDs. Was drafted in the seventh round of the 2004 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans and spent the 2005 season with the Tennessee Titans.

4. Omar Jenkins - Dallas Jesuit - Signed with Notre Dame

A two-year starter who posted 36 receptions for 341 yards and one touchdown as a senior after recording a career-best 37 receptions for 633 yards and three touchdowns as a junior.

5. J.J. Thompson - Kilgore - Signed with Kansas

Thompson failed to qualify out of high school and spent two seasons at Kilgore Junior College before signing with Baylor in 2002. He started one game in his career at Baylor and caught 16 passes for 133 yards.

Others: Will Peoples - Humble (Signed with Oklahoma), Tony Jeffery - Klein Forest (Signed with Texas), Devard Darling - Sugar Land Austin (Signed with Washington) and Mark Clayton - Arlington Sam Houston (Signed with Oklahoma)

Class of 2001

1. Quan Cosby - Mart - Signed with Texas

Although he didn't arrive at Texas until 2005 because of a stint in minor league baseball, Cosby eventually emerged as an All-Conference performer and one of the best wide receivers in the history of the Texas football program. Cosby signed with the Cincinnati Bengals as a free agent this spring.

2. Brandon Jones - Texarkana Texas High - Signed with Oklahoma

In his four years as a Sooner, Jones proved to be one of the best big-play receivers in the Big 12, catching 82 passes for 1,187 yards and 14 touchdowns. Jones was selected in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans and he spent the last four seasons as a part-time starter with the Titans before recently signing a new contract with the San Francisco 49ers.

3. Thomson Omboga - Grand Prairie - Signed with Missouri

A two-year starter for the Tigers that caught 127 passes for 1,272 yards and three touchdowns during his career.

4. John Roberson - Bay City - Signed with Texas A&M

Roberson saw some limited action with the Aggies early in his career before transferring from the program.

5. Armon Dorrough - Lancaster - Signed with Texas Tech

Dorrough was a part-time player for the Red Raiders at wide receiver for three seasons. In those three seasons at Tech, Dorrough caught 15 passes for 154 yards.

Others: Bennie Brazzell - Houston Westbury (Signed with LSU), Terrence Thomas - Houston Washington (Signed with Texas A&M), Breyon Jones - Round Rock (Signed with BYU), Brian Carter - The Woodlands (Signed with Texas) and Keith Mills - Garland (Signed with West Virginia)

Class of 2002

1. Robert Timmons - Flower Mound Marcus - Signed with Texas

Played as a true freshman with the Longhorns in 2002, but eventually left the program and he never resurfaced in another program.

2. Damien Collins - Dallas Bryan Adams - Signed with Oklahoma State

Did not qualify coming out of high school.

3. Travis Wilson - Carrollton Creekview - Signed with Oklahoma

Wilson started 18 of 44 career games and had 105 receptions for 1,315 yards and 17 touchdowns in his career. He was drafted in the third round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns, but he hasn't been able to carve out a niche in the league.

4. Biren Ealy - Houston Cy Falls - Signed with Arizona

Led the team in receiving in 2003 with 42 receptions for 577 yards and four touchdowns. Ealy suffered a broken leg in pre-season workouts in 2004 and was eventually dismissed from the team because of academic issues. Transferred to Houston and was a part-time starter with the Cougars and finished with 34 catches for 420 yards and six touchdowns as a senior. He's bounced around with a few teams in the NFL and played four games with the Titans in 2007, but he hasn't found a real place in the league.

5. Anthony Wright - Klein Forest - Signed with Colorado

Transferred to Texas A&M before he ever played a down with the Buffs, but he never made an impact with the Aggies.

Others: Chad McCullar - Houston North Shore (Signed with Houston), Michael DePriest - Keller Fossil Ridge (Signed with TCU), Mike Jefferson - El Paso Parkland (Signed with Arizona) and Jeremy Wariner - Arlington Lamar (Signed with Baylor)

Class of 2003

1. Limas Sweed - Brenham - Signed with Texas

Sweed emerged as one of the top overall players in this class. A four-year starter at Texas, Sweed caught 124 passes for 1,915 yards and 20 scores, while earning All-Big 12 honors before eventually becoming a second-round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

2. Billy Pittman - Cameron - Signed with Texas

Pittman emerged as one of college football's top big-play pass receiver as a sophomore in 2005, earning All-Big 12 honors after posting 34 receptions for a team-best 750 yards and five touchdowns. Although he was never able to build on his sophomore season, Pittman was an important championship piece for Texas.

3. Marcus Johnson - Abilene - Signed with Oklahoma

Johnson had some off-field issues and did not make a dent in Norman before leaving.

4. Tyrell Gatewood - Tyler Chapel Hill - Signed with Texas

Gatewood could never settle on a position during his time at Texas and he never made a true impact on the program during his career.

5. Earvin Taylor - Mission - Signed with Texas A&M

Taylor was a four-year contributor for the Aggies that caught 69 passes for 702 yards and five touchdowns.

Rivals' Top 5: Sweed, Gatewood, Taylor, Bennie Swain and Phillip Jones

Others: Marcus Brock - Lindale (Signed with TCU), Phillip Jones - Denton Ryan (Signed with Oklahoma State) and Dominique Ziegler - Killeen Shoemaker (Signed with Baylor)

Class of 2004

1. Lance Leggett - Arlington Grace Prep - Signed with Miami

Leggett looked like a future star when he first arrived at Miami and averaged better than 20 yards per catch as a true freshman. However, he never seemed to take the next step as a player and after catching a career-high 38 passes for 584 yards and four touchdowns as a sophomore, Leggett finished his career with 85 career catches for nearly 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns. Leggett signed a free agent deal with the Cleveland Browns after his career in Miami, but he did not make the team.

2. George Walker - Houston Westbury - Signed with Texas

Walker never emerged as a factor during his career with the Longhorns and is considered one of the biggest busts from this class.

3. Jordan Shipley - Burnet - Signed with Texas

Despite some early injuries that limited his play, Shipley has emerged as an All-American and one of the best players from the 2003 class. As a junior in 2008, Shipley caught 89 passes for 1,060 yards and 11 touchdowns.

4. Myron Hardy - Round Rock McNeil - Signed with Texas

Hardy showed some flashes during his time in Austin, but off-field issues ended up derailing his career.

5. Anthony Jenkins - Ennis - Signed with Texas Tech

The speedy Jenkins never made an impact in Lubbock.

Rivals' Top 5: Leggett, Hardy, Walker, Shipley and Lendy Holmes

Others: Chris Ogbonnaya - Houston Strake Jesuit (Signed with Texas), Lendy Holmes - South Oak Cliff (Signed with Oklahoma), Nate Jones - Texarkana Texas High (Signed with Texas), Terrence Nunn - Houston Cy Falls (Signed with Nebraska) and Danny Amendola - The Woodlands (Signed with Texas Tech

Class of 2005

1. Malcolm Kelly - Longview - Signed with Oklahoma

A three-year starter at Oklahoma who twice earned All-Big 12 honors, Kelly caught 144 passes for 2,285 yards and 21 touchdowns in his college career before becoming a second-round pick in the NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins.

2. Brandon LaFell - Houston Lamar - Signed with LSU

LaFell earned First-Team All-SEC honors as a junior in 2008 after putting together one of the most productive seasons for a wide receiver in school history, catching 63 passes for 929 yards and eight touchdowns.

3. Howard Morrow - Keller Fossil Ridge - Signed with Texas A&M

Morrow has never developed into an impact college performer, but he did start a few games as a junior in 2008, as he caught 10 passes for 147 yards. Morrow enters his senior season at A&M in 2009.

4. David Nelson - Wichita Falls Rider - Signed with Florida

Nelson emerged as a solid contributor for the Gators during their national championship season in 2009 and has 21 catches for 339 yards in his three-year career thus far.

5. Manuel Johnson - Gilmer - Signed with Oklahoma

Johnson emerged as a top-level player for the Sooners, as he caught 119 passes for 1,710 yards and 19 touchdowns in his four-year career. He was selected in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys.

Rivals' Top 5: Kelly, Johnson, Morrow, Nelson, LaFell

Others: Brodrick Hunter - Humble (Signed with Nebraska), Jeremy Broadway - Houston Washington (Signed with Oklahoma State), Michael Thomas - DeSoto (Signed with Arizona), Terrence Nunn - Houston Cy Falls (Signed with Nebraska) and Danny Amendola - The Woodlands (Signed with Texas Tech

Class of 2006

1. Adron Tennell - Irving - Signed with Oklahoma

Tennell is expected to be a starter for the Sooners this season as a senior, but he has been a complete bust up until this point.

2. Phillip Payne - South Garland - Signed with Texas

Payne has never been able to get on the field during his career at Texas.

3. Montre Webber - Hearne - Signed with Texas

Webber served as a back-up player for the Longhorns and transferred after the 2008 when it became clear he would not be able to make an impact in the program.

4. Michael Crabtree - Dallas Carter - Signed with Texas Tech

Crabtree emerged as one of the best players in the history of the Big 12 after earning All-America honors in both of his seasons in Lubbock before heading off to the NFL as a first-round pick. Crabtree finished his career with 231 catches for 3,127 yards and 41 touchdowns.

5. Terrell Reese - Pflugerville Hendrickson - Signed with Arizona

Reese emerged as a starter for Arizona as a sophomore in 2007, but he left the program due to off-field issues.

Rivals' Top 5: Tennell, Webber, Payne, Crabtree and Josh Marshall

Others: Josh Marshall - Arlington Martin (Signed with Texas), Steven Harris - Lewisville (Signed with Texas Tech), James Cleveland - Bay City (Signed with Iowa), and McKay Jacobson - Southlake Carroll (Signed with BYU)

Class of 2007

1. John Chiles - Mansfield Summit - Signed with Texas

Chiles spent his first two seasons at Texas in a back-up role at quarterback, but after moving to wide receiver this spring, he figures to make his first true impact as a college performer in 2009.

2. Dez Bryant - Lufkin - Signed with Oklahoma State

Bryant has emerged as one of the best players in this class after earning All-America honors as a sophomore in 2008. He caught 87 passes for 1,480 yards and 19 touchdowns as a sophomore.

3. Terrance Toliver - Hempstead - Signed with LSU

After earning freshman All-SEC honors, Toliver didn't quite take off like a lot of people expected him to as a sophomore in 2008, but he's expected to compete for a starting position in 2009. Toliver has caught 32 passes for 506 yards and four scores in his first two seasons at LSU.

4. Malcolm Williams - Garland - Signed with Texas

Williams flashed his big-play potential as a redshirt freshman in 2008, but he's yet to emerge as a true impact player heading into his sophomore season.

5. Brandon Collins - Brenham - Signed with Texas

Collins emerged as a starter during his sophomore season in 2008, as he caught 35 passes for 430 yards and three touchdowns. He could be poised for a huge season as a junior.

Rivals' Top 5: Toliver, Chiles, Bryant, Williams and Collins

Others: Denarius Moore - Tatum (Signed with Tennessee), Jeremy Kerley - Hutto (Signed with TCU), Hubert Anyiam - North Garland (Signed with Texas Tech), Curenski Gilleylen - Leander (Signed with Nebraska), James Kirkendoll - Round Rock (Signed with Texas), and Detron Lewis - A&M Consolidated (Signed with Texas Tech)

Class of 2008

1. DeSean Hales - Klein Oak - Signed with Texas

Hales is expected to serve as a reserve in redshirt freshman season in 2009.

2. Darryl Stonum - Sugar Land Dulles - Signed with Michigan

Stonum caught 14 passes for 176 yards and a touchdown as a freshman in 2008.

3. Dan Buckner - Allen - Signed with Texas

Buckner caught five passes for 84 yards and two touchdowns as a true freshman in 2008.

4. Jeff Fuller - McKinney Boyd - Signed with Texas A&M

Fuller emerged as a true breakout player during his freshman season, as he caught 50 passes for 630 yards and nine touchdowns in 2008.

5. D.J. Grant - Austin LBJ - Signed with Texas

Grant redshirted in 2008 and is expected to compete for a starting position at H-back/tight end in 2009.

Rivals' Top 5: Stonum, Fuller, Buckner, Hines and Sedrick Johnson

Others: Omarius Hines - Corsicana (Signed with Florida), Sedrick Johnson - Arp (Signed with Iowa State), Kendall Wright - Pittsburgh (Signed with Baylor), Antoine Hicks - Mansfield Timberview (Signed with Texas), Darius Darks - Pflugerville Connally (Signed with Iowa State), and Daymond Patterson - North Mesquite (Signed with Kansas)

Class of 2009

1. Greg Timmons - Aldine Eisenhower - Signed with Texas

2. Eric Ward - Wichita Falls Rider - Signed with Texas Tech

3. A.J. Dugat - Dayton - Signed with Houston

4. Emory Blake - Austin High - Signed with Auburn

5. Uzoma Nwachukwu - Allen - Signed with Texas A&M

Rivals' Top 5: Timmons, Ward, Blake, Nwachukwu and Aaron Fisher

Others: Marquise Goodwin - Rowlett (Signed with Texas), Brandel Jackson - Navasota (Signed with Texas A&M), Terdema Ussery - Dallas St. Mark's (Signed with Colorado), Kenric McNeal - Spring (Signed with Texas A&M), and Aaron Fisher - Keller Fossil Ridge (Signed with Texas Tech)

Breaking down the data…

It's impossible to give a full breakdown of the numbers at this stage because too many careers have yet to be completed, but here's what we know from this ten-year stretch thus far:

Number of NFL players: 7
Number of first round picks: 2
Number of NFL Draft picks: 9
Number of All-Americans: 4
Number of All-Conference: 9
Number of starters: 19
Number of outright busts: 18


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