Texas Football: 3 freshmen that will breakout for Horns in Week 1 vs. Rice

CJ Baxter Jr., Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
CJ Baxter Jr., Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Johntay Cook II, Texas football
Johntay Cook II, Texas football. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports /

Johntay Cook II, WR

Like Hill, another true freshman who isn’t going to start right away but will get a heavy dose of live-game reps is talented wide receiver Johntay Cook II. Cook solidified his spot among the top group of four or five wideouts with a stellar showing in fall camp.

Cook will start the season as the second or third-string field receiver, depending on what Sark does with redshirt junior Isaiah Neyor behind junior standout Xavier Worthy. Neyor took most of the second-team reps at field receiver in training camp. But Neyor will be moved around at the line of scrimmage pre-snap to take advantage of his size and the threat of the deep ball connection.

Moreover, the Rice game is the perfect opportunity to test the deep ball with Cook lining up at the field receiver position. If Texas gets up early in the first half on Rice, Sark can get Cook more reps at field receiver, potentially with one of the backup quarterbacks.

We saw Cook’s connection with redshirt freshman quarterback Maalik Murphy for a 70+ yard deep ball for a score in the spring game.

Cook can beat Rice’s DBs in more ways than one, though. He’s a precise route runner who can utilize his speed and agility to burn Rice DBs on short and intermediate routes. And once he gets the ball, Cook is dangerous after the catch.

Cook will be a significant part of the offense this fall. The Rice game is the perfect opportunity for Sark to get Cook’s feet wet before getting him involved in the passing game against bigger opponents in Big 12 play and potentially against Alabama in limited ways in Week 2.