Darius White

Sophomore wide receiver Darius White announced his decision to transfer Tuesday, becoming another in a long line of former Longhorns that have left the football program this year.

White was an all-state wideout at Dunbar High School in Fort Worth as he racked up over 3,000 yards receiving over his last three seasons. He scored twice in the 2010 Under Armour All-America Game and came in at No. 20 on the ESPNU 150 list.

The pair of touchdowns in that All-America Game, however, would top the lone score, a 31-yard touchdown catch from Case McCoy against Texas Tech, White had as a Longhorn. He had six catches for 71 yards in 20 games, none of which White started in. Meanwhile, true freshmen like Jaxon Shipley and Miles Onyegbule – prospects that were not nearly as highly-touted as White – each made at least one start this season.

“I sat down and talked to my mother and family and came to the conclusion that I really just need a fresh start,” White said.

White has not yet decided where he will transfer to, although multiple sources told the Daily Texan last week that Texas A&M could be his preferred destination. With freshman defensive tackle Taylor Bible reportedly leaving the Longhorns squad because of academic issues, White brings the total of Texas players to depart the program to 13.

“We never like to see anyone leave,” said head coach Mack Brown. “But at the same time we understand Darius’ desire for a fresh start. We appreciate everything Darius has contributed.”

Since the beginning of the year, a baker’s dozen of people have ended their Longhorns football career, either by transferring, by focusing on their studies, or by giving up football altogether. Linebacker Tariq Allen began the exodus in January when he announced his intentions to transfer. Since then, Texas has lost two quarterbacks (Connor Wood and Garrett Gilbert), a running back (Traylon Shead), and four defenders (Bible, Allen, linebacker Patrick Nkwopara, and safety Nolan Brewster).

The other six are all receivers. Greg Timmons decided to transfer in June, Marquise Goodwin left the program to pursue Olympic dreams before returning two months later, Brock Fitzhenry ended his football career in August, along with Malcolm Williams, while Chris elected to transfer last month.

Even without White, Texas’ receiving corps will not be short-handed. All three starting receivers – Jaxon Shipley, Mike Davis (who also scored in the 2010 Under Armour All-America contest), and Goodwin – return in 2012.Backups DeSean Hales, John Harris, and Onyegbule will also be back. With Austin High’s Cayleb Jones and Dallas Skyline’s Thomas Johnson, two of the top 35 rated prospects according to both Rivals.com and ESPN, committed to play for the Longhorns next fall, their receiving corps should be in good shape.

Column

Mike Davis looks up for the ball during the LonghornsÂ’ 34-9 win over Rice. Davis caught three passes for 115 yards against the Owls but did not make a reception against BYU.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Though they failed to move the ball last year, the Longhorns entered this season with a group of young, up-and-coming wide receivers that looked like it had the potential to grow into one of the best units in the conference.

And now, after two straight weeks of so-so play, they head to Los Angeles with a whole lot of question marks.

Obviously, that’s bad news for a team breaking in two new quarterbacks.

Consider the top targets for Case McCoy and David Ash: Jaxon Shipley and Mike Davis.

That’s about it.

We’ll have to wait and see how the benching of Garrett Gilbert affects Davis, who caught three balls for 115 yards against Rice but didn’t register a reception against BYU.

Sophomore Darius White boasts a ton of talent but only has three career catches. He even fumbled — without cause — after making a reception last week.

Something’s missing there.

Still waiting on DeSean Hales to become the impact player he was in high school, but that hasn’t happened yet either. Now a junior, Hales is buried at No. 3 on the depth chart.

John Harris proved he could toss a nice ball. Miles Onyegbule, who cross-trained at several positions in high school, has unique versatility.

Add Marquise Goodwin to that mix, and you’ve got seven receivers jockeying for playing time. Seven receivers who, against BYU, recorded a combined seven receptions for 57 yards.

What does it say about the rest of the receivers that Goodwin can bypass spring, summer and fall workouts, jump back in with the team out of the blue and be starting after one week of practice?

Maybe it means nothing — Shipley says they’ll take all the “fast players” they can get — but it’s not exactly a stamp of approval for the other guys on the roster.

The Longhorns’ wide receivers don’t need to be world-beaters. They just need to be better than last year’s group, which lacked a true go-to guy.

Texas has devoted so much of its time and recruiting focus the past few seasons to fielding a roster of talented catchers and throwers — in turn, making the Longhorns a team that struggles to run the ball — that it can’t afford for the receivers to turn in sub-par performances for consecutive years.

The wide receivers should have enough talent to make sure that doesn’t happen. Emphasis on “should.”

Printed on September 15, 2011 as: Texas needs more out of its receivers