Before Texas begins its first season under Charlie Strong, we're taking a deep dive into all the talent he inherits in 2014. Our Burnt Orange Breakdown series will take a closer look at each scholarship player returning this fall and what we can expect from them. We're going down the roster from No. 1 Shiro Davis all the way to No. 99 Desmond Jackson.
No. 8 Jaxon Shipley
Senior wide receiver
Recruitment rewind: One month after Jordan Shipley played his final game in burnt orange, his talented younger brother became the first member of Texas' 2011 recruiting class. The four-star recruit played for his father at Brownwood, where he put up 3,444 receiving yards and 43 TDs plus eight more scores on special teams.
Career so far: Shipley hauled in a touchdown in his first career game in 2011 and has been a mainstay in the Texas offense ever since. He enters his final season having already cracked the top 10 in the Texas record books for career receptions (159, seventh all-time) and receiving yards (1,933, ninth). He caught a pass in his each of his first 33 career games and has even thrown for three TDs on trick plays.
Best-case scenario for 2014: The ceiling for Shipley is the same one we mentioned for Marcus Johnson earlier this week: The elusive 1,000-yard season. That might sound impossible, since Shipley's career 12.2 YPC average suggests he'd need 80 catches to get there. Then again, no Texas wideout has caught more passes (90) from David Ash in the past three years than Shipley. He's not a burner, but he's been fast enough to turn 96 of his career catches into first downs and should be good for much more than the seven 20-plus yard receptions he logged last season.
Worst-case scenario for 2014: Statistically speaking, Shipley's numbers dipped in nearly every category last season (56 catches, 589 yards, 1 TD, 10.5 YPC) compared to 2012. Blame the absence of Ash and Texas' decision to win games on the ground for those stats, but they're worth noting. He's a great go-to receiver, but it's hard to expect an all-conference caliber season from him if the Horns' QB plan falls apart again.
Future expectations: Where Shipley's NFL prospects stand entering his senior season are hard to estimate. He has a respected reputation for being Mr. Consistency for the Longhorns and possesses basically all the same measurables of his brother, a third-round selection in 2010. Jaxon won't be able to match Jordan's production, but a big 2014 could really help his stock.