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Friday, May 24, 2013
Burnt Orange Breakdown: Bryant Jackson

By Carter Strickland

During the summer, HornsNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Texas roster -- excluding the Longhorns' 2013 recruiting class -- in our Burnt Orange Breakdown series. Starting with No. 1 Mike Davis, we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 99 Desmond Jackson.

No. 16 Bryant Jackson
Junior wide receiver

Expectations for 2013: If every there were a season in which Jackson should be able to become a viable option on offense, this would be it. Texas is moving to many four-wide sets and, quite frankly, coaches are not sure who those four wide receivers might be. Jackson had eight catches and averaged 17.5 yards per catch in 2012, so he does have the ability to turn in big plays. But he has not consistently developed into a threat for quarterback David Ash. Jackson might get some more playing time because of the legal setbacks of Cayleb Jones and Kendall Sanders. But both of those players are likely to only briefly be out, so Jackson will have to show his value rather quickly if he wants to remain a part of the game plan.

Best-case scenario in 2013: Jackson is not likely to be a starter. But he could be a player who contributes 20 catches. And he can become an unexpected weapon in games. He had two catches for 17 yards each in big wins over Baylor and Texas Tech in 2012. Plus Texas is going to need him to spell some of the starters. The up-tempo offense is sure to wear down some of those receivers, making it necessary for players like Jackson to pick up the slack where they can. Jackson is also a threat on special teams. He is a decent tackler and has the speed to be very effective in punt and kick coverage.

Worst-case scenario in 2013: Texas has to have Jackson be productive in very game and not just briefly sparkle here or there. With Texas trying to run 10 more plays per game at least, this means Ash could be throwing in the neighborhood of 80 more passes on the season. Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley cannot catch all those balls. There have to be more outlets for the quarterback and Jackson has the experience to be one of those outlets.

Future expectations: Jackson actually might have been better served remaining a defensive back. He has not exactly flourished at wide receiver and his presence on the other side of the field might have helped Texas with mix-and-match options when it comes to covering up its deficiency at safety. But that time is gone and now Jackson has become a reliable special- teams player and a sometimes-looked-at target on the offensive end. It’s doubtful he will rise to more than that in his final two seasons at Texas.