With news breaking earlier this week that Wyoming transfer and projected starting z-receiver Isaiah Neyor will miss the season with a torn ACL, Texas football fans immediately started looking down the depth chart to see who could replace him.
Standing at 6-foot-3, 216 pounds with great leaping ability and even better hands, Neyor earned himself a spot on the 2022 Biletnikoff Award Watch List. Recognized as a top receiver in college football, his on-field production will have to be replaced through multiple avenues.
2021 Freshman All-American Xavier Worthy will continue to carry a large load on his shoulders with help from a healthy fourth-year Jordan Whittington. With that said, other guys must step up if this offense wants to achieve the lofty goals placed upon it.
I believe two of those players who could step up are true freshmen Savion Red and Brenen Thompson. Red and Thompson come from completely opposite ends of the recruiting spectrum, but both have flashed promise in fall camp.
Hailing from Grand Prairie High School, Red was rated as a consensus three-star and the 1,414th ranked recruit in the class of 2022. An SMU commit for over a year, Red decommitted from the Mustangs right before the Longhorns offered him in late November of 2021. He signed two weeks later.
Thompson, on the other hand, was rated as the No. 131 recruit and 20th wide receiver in his class. The speedster from Spearman was a high-priority target for head coach Steve Sarkisian and his staff.
The way Red and Thompson ended up on the Forty Acres does not matter. What does matter is that they are there, ready to compete for playing time in a wide receiver room that needs guys to step up this fall?
Are Savion Red and Brenen Thompson ready to contribute as true freshmen for Texas football?
Neyor was slotted as a big-body z-receiver in this offense. Although Red and Thompson both fit the mold of a slot receiver, the Neyor injury still opens up valuable reps for both players.
Behind the aforementioned Worthy and Whittington, the Longhorns have no proven receiver commodities on this roster. Agiye Hall’s status is up in the air, and the trio of Jaden Alexis, Casey Cain, and Troy Omeire have yet to catch a collegiate pass.
This opens the door for Red and Thompson, who from all accounts have both had great fall camps thus far.
Last week Whittington mentioned Red as someone who has really impressed him in camp.
“He’s like a Deebo Samuel,” Whittington said of Red. “He’s just super explosive. And I found a guy who’s kind of like me in the way he’s a bigger guy who runs with the ball like a running back. It’s like I have a twin out there.”
As for Thompson, the 10.3 100-meter sprinter has speed that translates to the field which can be seen by this deep-ball touchdown catch from Quinn Ewers.
Red and Thompson have put themselves in the conversation to earn playing time early and often this fall. We know what Coach Sark is capable of with freshman receivers, just look back at Worthy’s 2021 season.
Regardless of how many touches these freshmen receive this season, I think it is safe to say that both Red and Thompson have high expectations for their time in Austin.