Texas Football: 3 offensive standouts from win over West Virginia

Xavier Worthy, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Xavier Worthy, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Ja’Tavion Sanders, TE

Sophomore tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders continues to get better every game during his first season as a key cog in this Texas offense.

On Saturday night, the Denton, TX, native hauled in five receptions for 78 yards and two scores. He became the first Longhorn tight end with two receiving touchdowns in a game since Blaine Irby back in 2011.

Sanders has been the second most targeted receiver in this offense behind the aforementioned Worthy.

The way Coach Sarkisian uses the high school two-way player is perfectly tailored to his skill set. More often than not, you see Sanders catching the ball in the flat and with a full head of steam. He has become the perfect safety blanket for this Texas offense.

Just because he has the ideal size and speed to be an elite safety valve does not mean Sanders won’t hurt defenses downfield. Both of his touchdown receptions came on balls thrown over 20-yards through the air.

Coach Sarkisian noted in a fall camp press conference that Sanders “probably {has} the best hands on the team”. The 6-foot-4 and 242-pound sophomore has the skill set of a wide receiver in a tight end’s body.

Sanders’ blocking ability, which was scrutinized this offseason, is slowly but surely coming along.

Although he did get called for a holding penalty on Saturday, his blocking flaws are not due to a lack of effort. Sanders has bought into the idea of becoming an all-around tight end, and I expect him to depart the Forty Acres as a physical, down-hill run-blocker as well as an elite receiving threat.