wide receiver

Freshman Armanti Foreman has played in the shadows of other receivers this season, but he caught the fans’ attention with a 45-yard touchdown reception against Oklahoma State on Saturday.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

There’s always a benefit to a fresh perspective — something head coach Charlie Strong is well aware of.

Entering his first year at Texas, Strong didn’t bring preconceived notions of what works and what doesn’t. He didn’t assume stars from 2012 and 2013 would automatically be team leaders in 2014. Instead, he let each player prove himself during off-season training.

As a result, Strong has given a host of true freshmen serious playing time. Among them, wide receiver Armanti Foreman has secured his spot on the field. Playing in every game this season except the UCLA contest, Foreman has established himself as a presence on Texas’ offensive and special teams units.

“He’s still a young receiver, still learning, but he’s going to develop into a really good player,” Strong said.

Against Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Oklahoma, last weekend, Foreman learned at least one thing: what it feels like to catch a touchdown. Driving home a 45-yard reception from sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes in the fourth quarter, Foreman capped off Texas’ 28-7 win. He also became the first freshman on the 2014 squad to score.

Swoopes said Foreman and the other rookies elevated their level of play Saturday.

“It was great seeing young guys come in and step up,” Swoopes said. “We’ve told them all season to stay ready because you just never know. So it was great seeing [Foreman] come in and have a big part in the win.”

Strong, too, commended the play.

“He made an unbelievable catch on that one that Tyrone laid out,” Strong said. “It looked like he hit another gear and went and got that ball, which was really a big catch.”

Foreman has made big catches before. Ranked as the No. 15 wide receiver in the class of 2014 by ESPN, Foreman caught 149 passes for 3,067 yards and 32 touchdowns throughout his high school career. He didn’t claim District 24-4A MVP in 2013 alone. Instead, he and his brother D’Onta, a freshman running back for Texas, shared the MVP honors. But Armanti Foreman has skills, and they don’t only extend to the offensive domain. The 2013 first-team All-District defensive back from Texas City also has a knack for throwing off defenders.

“We put him back on kickoff return because he’s a guy that can make people miss,” Strong said. “You like to get him in because, once he gets in the open, he can make people miss and he can outrun people.”

Foreman still has a ways to go. But he’s moving forward, both figuratively and literally, as he posted a career-high two receptions for 74 yards this weekend. Although he only scored directly on the second play, his initial 29-yard catch in the third quarter positioned Texas to kick a field goal. His presence on the field translates to the scoreboard quickly, and those points on the scoreboard translate to a win. Strong says many things help a program, but none more so than a win.

“Winning solves a lot of problems for you,” Strong said. “When you win games, guys start believing in the system.”

Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

Despite the Longhorns’ 4-5 record, Texas has managed to put together a solid recruiting class for the 2015 football team and are on the trail for more players.

Texas currently has 18 players committed in the 2015 recruiting class, which consists of 10 three-star and eight four-star recruits, according to HornsDigest. The Longhorns could potentially land even bigger names for the upcoming recruiting class because of the improvements head coach Charlie Strong and the coaching staff have made to the program.

Texas appears to be an early favorite to land five-star outside linebacker Malik Jefferson, who would be the prize recruit for Strong’s first full-cycle recruiting class. The Longhorns have a chance at adding two running backs: four-star Chris Warren and four-star Nicholas Brossette, who is currently committed to LSU.

Additionally, the Longhorns may be able to bolster their wide receiver corps with four-star Ryan Newsome. Some other names to watch out for are five-star tight end Chris Clark, four-star middle linebacker Anthony Wheeler, four-star cornerback Kris Boyd and three-star center Tyler Moore.

Although Texas’ season hasn’t been great, recruits have noticed the changes and improvements the team has made throughout the season.

Current four-star quarterback commit Zach Gentry, who is from Albuquerque, New Mexico, is one of the many recruits who have seen the Longhorns get better this season.

“I’ve seen improvement every week,” Gentry said. “They’ve improved offensively, and their defense has been solid all year.”

But, others haven’t been so quick to praise Texas — three-star defensive end Charles Omenihu has been quick to point out some of the Longhorns’ faults.

“They’re very inconsistent offensively,” Omenihu said. “The defense had a bad game against Iowa State. Then came back again and had one of their normal games, where they hold up and hold up for as long as they possibly can, and then there’s a point where you can’t hold up any longer, and then you just end up losing. I just feel like the quarterback is not where he needs to be — neither is the offensive line.”

Omenihu isn’t alone. Some Texas commits are looking around at other schools, while other recruits are beginning to lose interest in the Longhorns.

Four-star receiver John Burt, a Texas commit, has visited Auburn and plans to go there again this weekend. Texas may be in trouble, as Burt has started to favor the Tigers.

The coaching staff told Newsome he is their next big wide receiver, but his future commitment is unclear.

“[Texas tells me that they] want and need me,” Newsome said. “I’m their number one guy for receiver.”

But Newsome has recently taken trips to Ole Miss and Tennessee and will be going to visit Oklahoma this weekend. The Longhorns may not be able to land Newsome.

While recruits have noticed Texas’ improvement, the Longhorns need to continue to get better, as they may lose out on some players because of their play. Texas needs guys like Jefferson, Newsome and Burt. And if it doesn’t keep getting better, it may not land these big recruits.

Peyton Manning breaks Brett Favre’s Touchdown Record

With the ball on the one-yard line and Peyton Manning one touchdown pass away from the all-time record, everybody in Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium and everybody watching at home knew the Broncos were going to throw the football.

The play sequence on the one-yard line to reach 509 was not particularly picture-perfect for Manning. On first down, Manning threw a tough pass that tight end Julius Thomas was unable to control. On the next play, Manning tripped on his center’s leg and fell back all the way to the eight-yard line.

The third time was the charm.

On third down, with 3:09 left in the second quarter, Manning threw an eight-yard strike to his favorite target, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas for the score, putting Manning on top of the NFL record books.

Manning made his record breaking touchdown pass look easy but Bronco’s receivers Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Emmanuel Sanders and tight end Julius Thomas played a friendly game of keep away with the record-setting touchdown ball, making it a little more challenging for Manning to get the ball back.

Brett Favre, now second on the all-time touchdown list, had some gracious words for Manning on the jumbrotron after he threw his 509th touchdown pass.

“I want to say congratulations for breaking the touchdown record,” Favre said. “I’m not surprised. You’ve been a wonderful player and I’ve enjoyed watching you play. I’ve enjoyed competing against you. I wish you great success for the rest of the season and the rest of your career.”

Later in the game, Manning threw his fourth touchdown pass of the day to Demaryius Thomas putting him at 510 touchdown passes overall and leading the Broncos to a 42-17 win over the 49ers.

Manning was able to break Favre’s record in only 246 games, 56 games fewer than Favre. That’s more than three seasons worth of football.

Peyton Manning attributes the success throughout his career to his coaches and teammates in Denver and Indianapolis.

“I do think about how many people have helped throughout my career with something like that and just how grateful I am for that help and support,” Manning said. “Football is the ultimate team game and so I guess one man kind of has to accept it, but I kind of accept on behalf of a lot of coaches and teammates.”

Throughout his career, Manning has thrown his 510 touchdown passes to 45 different players. His top five touchdown targets are wide receivers Marvin Harrison (112), Reggie Wayne (67), tight ends Dallas Clark (44), Marcus Pollard (34) and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (29).

Most people consider Peyton Manning to be the best regular season quarterback of all time but due to his lack of Super Bowl victories critics hesitate calling him the greatest quarterback ever.

Many people associate Joe Montana, the former 49ers quarterback, as the best quarterback of all-time after Montana won four Super Bowls in four attempts. Peyton Manning only has one Super Bowl victory in three attempts but his regular season statistics throughout his career speaks for themselves. Joe Montana threw for only 273 touchdown passes and Montana’s replacement, Steve Young, threw for 232. Manning has thrown more touchdown passes than both Montana and Young combined.

Manning’s record-breaking touchdown pass might silence his critics.

The preliminary hearing for former Texas Longhorns wide receiver Kendall Sanders, who was charged earlier this summer with a second-degree felony for sexual assault, as well as improper photography, was rescheduled again Friday.

The hearing was reset to Dec. 5 at 9 a.m., according to Travis County District Court bailiff Antonio Casarez.

This is the third time the preliminary hearing has been rescheduled. It was originally set for Aug. 7, delayed to Sept. 2, and then delayed to Oct. 17. 

Sanders was arrested in July, along with former wide receiver Montrel Meander, after allegedly sexually assaulting a female student in San Jacinto Residence Hall. Both Meander and Sanders were later released on bail, according to UTPD Chief David Carter.

If convicted, both players could possibly face a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. According to Travis County Court clerk Grace Ramirez, it could take up to a year before the players are indicted. 

Immediately following the arrests, head coach Charlie Strong suspended both players from the team for an indefinite amount of time. On Aug. 3, he announced that they had been dismissed from the team because of the charges against them.

The preliminary hearing for former Longhorn football wide receiver Montrel Meander, who was charged earlier this summer with a second-degree felony for sexual assault, was rescheduled again Thursday.

The hearing was reset to 9 a.m. on Nov. 10, according to Travis County District Court Bailiff Anthony Casarez.

This is the third time the preliminary hearing has been rescheduled. It was originally set for Aug. 7 and then delayed to Sept. 2.

Meander was arrested in July, along with former wide receiver Kendall Sanders, after allegedly sexually assaulting a female student in San Jacinto Residence Hall. Both Meander and Sanders were later released on bail.

If convicted, both players could possibly face a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Immediately following the arrests, head coach Charlie Strong suspended both players from the team for an indefinite amount of time. On Aug. 3, he announced that they had been dismissed from the team because of the charges against them.

Sanders’ hearing is scheduled for Friday at 9 a.m.

Fantasy Decisions: Week 7 Rankings and the Flex

The flex spot in your lineup can be one of the most infuriating positions on this planet.

In most leagues, you’re given the choice between starting a running back, a wide receiver, or tight end. For years, I followed the philosophy of absolutely always using a running back in that flex unless bye weeks forced me to throw in a wide receiver for the position. Running backs have always seemed like the safe play to me. I rationalized all this in my head saying, “Running backs are always going to get carries! You never know if Alex Smith is going to throw to Dwayne Bowe or Donnie Avery. How am I supposed to figure out whether Matt Hasselback has a good connection with T.J. Houshmandzadeh this week?”

But as the league turns more and more towards an aerial attack, suddenly many teams are using a wide receiver in a flex spot once reserved for RBs only. The two positions are quickly becoming near-equivalents for fantasy purposes. As of this morning, there are 29 running backs that have averaged at least eight points a game this season. And wide receiver? Well, there are 30 in the same category.

Here’s another stat for you. Of the top 40 flex options this year (based on average scoring per week): 17 are RBs, 17 are WRs, 6 are TEs.

Just remember your flex spot is a FLEX spot! It is not a RB3 spot. Receivers are being more utilized every passing year, so now is the time to jump on the bandwagon. Yes, wide receivers may seem more sporadic but in reality, you’re looking at the same stats as the running back position. So use that flex spot for the receiver you keep ignoring; he just might surprise you.

As we look forward to this weekend, don’t forget the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are both on bye so feel free to let Mike Glennon and Riley Cooper hang out on your bench. Lastly, the Patriots take on the Jets tonight in an AFC East battle. Set your lineups accordingly. Onto the rankings!



1.     Aaron Rodgers

2.     Philip Rivers

3.     Andrew Luck

4.     Peyton Manning

5.     Jay Cutler

6.     Tom Brady

7.     Russell Wilson

8.     Drew Brees

9.     Carson Palmer

10. Cam Newton

11.  Colin Kaepernick

12.  Matthew Stafford

13.  Brian Hoyer

14.  Joe Flacco

15. Kirk Cousins

16.  Matt Ryan

17.  Tony Romo

18.  Jake Locker

19.  Ben Roethlisberger

20.  Eli Manning


1.     Arian Foster

2.     Demarco Murray

3.     Matt Forte

4.     Le’Veon Bell

5.     Marshawn Lynch

6.     Jamaal Charles

7.     Giovani Bernard

8.     Eddie Lacy

9.     Ben Tate

10. Andre Ellington

11.  Branden Oliver

12. Lamar Miller

13.  Alfred Morris

14.  Justin Forsett

15.  Andre Williams

16.  Ronnie Hillman

17.  Frank Gore

18.  Shane Vereen

19.  Fred Jackson

20.  Joique Bell

21.  Fred Jackson

22.  Chris Ivory

23.  Mark Ingram

24.  Bishop Sankey

25.  Jonathan Stewart


1.     Demaryius Thomas

2.     Antonio Brown

3.     Julio Jones

4.     Jordy Nelson

5.     Dez Bryant

6.     Alshon Jeffery

7.     Brandon Marshall

8.     Randall Cobb

9.     Steve Smith

10.  Golden Tate

11.  Emmanuel Sanders

12.  Andre Johnson

13.  Kelvin Benjamin

14.  Mike Wallace

15.  Mohamed Sanu

16.  Julian Edelman

17.  T.Y. Hilton

18.  DeSean Jackson

19.  Michael Floyd

20.  Percy Harvin

21.  DeAndre Hopkins

22.  Pierre Garcon

23.  Reggie Wayne

24.  Rueben Randle

25.  Keenan Allen


1.     Rob Gronkowski

2.     Julius Thomas

3.     Greg Olsen

4.     Jordan Reed

5.     Antonio Gates

6.     Martellus Bennett

7.     Jordan Cameron

8.     Delanie Walker

9.     Travis Kelce

10.  Larry Donnell

11.  Vernon Davis

12.  Dwayne Allen

13.  Jason Witten

14.  Jared Cook

15.  Heath Miller


1.     Seahawks

2.     Bills

3.     Patriots

4.     Texans

5.     Browns

6.     Cardinals

7.     Lions

8.     Broncos

9.     Ravens

10.  Bears

11.  Cowboys

12.  Chargers

13.  Titans

14.  49ers

15.  Packers


1.     Arian Foster

2.     Demarco Murray

3.     Matt Forte

4.     Le’Veon Bell

5.     Marshawn Lynch

6.     Demaryius Thomas

7.     Antonio Brown

8.     Jamaal Charles

9.     Giovani Bernard

10. Julio Jones

11.  Jordy Nelson

12.  Eddie Lacy

13.  Dez Bryant

14.  Rob Gronkowski

15.  Ben Tate

16.  Andre Ellington

17.  Branden Oliver

18.  Julius Thomas

19.  Alshon Jeffery

20.  Lamar Miller

21.  Alfred Morris

22.  Brandon Marshall

23.  Randall Cobb

24.  Justin Forsett

25.  Andre Williams

26.  Steve Smith

27.  Golden Tate

28.  Emmanuel Sanders

29.  Ronnie Hillman

30.  Frank Gore

31.  Shane Vereen

32.  Andre Johnson

33.  Kelvin Benjamin

34.  Mike Wallace

35.  Mohamed Sanu

36.  Greg Olsen

37.  Julian Edelman

38.  Fred Jackson

39.  Joique Bell

40.  T.Y. Hilton

41.  DeSean Jackson

42.  Chris Ivory

43.  Mark Ingram

44.  Bishop Sankey

45.  Jonathan Stewart

46.  Michael Floyd

47.  Percy Harvin

48.  Jordan Reed

49.  Antonio Gates

50.  DeAndre Hopkins

Send in your lineup questions, waiver wire wonders, or trade help to FantasyDecisions@gmail.com


Junior wide reciever Marcus Johnson fights off a defender during the game against OSU last season. Johnson, who took advantage of his oppurtunities last season, is expected to become one of Texas' top reciever threats, taking the place of Mike Davis. 

Photo Credit: Shweta Gulati | Daily Texan Staff

After a 1-2 start to the 2013 season and an injury to senior wide receiver Mike Davis in the conference opener, Texas needed its younger players to shine. Several candidates were expected to fill the role, but very few signs pointed to sophomore wide receiver Marcus Johnson being the one.

Johnson missed Texas’ previous two games with a knee injury and entered with only one catch in nine career games. However, in the end it was Johnson who took advantage of the occasion, hauling in five passes for 70 yards against Kansas State in the Big 12 opener, including two grabs in Texas’ final scoring drive. 

“I just felt like that first opportunity against Kansas State — I came off the little knee injury, and I went out there and did what I could to step up in the time when Mike was hurt,” Johnson said. “And from then on I think my confidence was there, and from there on everything went well.”

Now a junior, Johnson enters 2014 expected to take over Davis’ old role as Texas’ big play receiver. He showed flashes of potential last season, none bigger than his 59-yard touchdown catch in Texas’ upset victory over Oklahoma last October. 

“That was a major step,” Johnson said. “Going into the game, I wasn’t expecting anything like that touchdown at the time or anything like that. But, when it happened, it just let me know, man, that I could do this. I can be a dynamic player.”

After spending last season as an unknown by opposing defenses, Johnson will now be a team’s defensive game plan to shutdown. Not one to back away from a challenge, Johnson looks forward to taking on opponents’ top corners and facing the most experienced defensive backs.

“You want competition. You want to go against the best,” Johnson said. “Even in practice, I’m constantly calling guys like Duke [Thomas] and Quandre [Diggs] out because that’s who you want. You want the best competition to make you better.”

Johnson’s teammates have even taken notice of the wideout’s urge to compete amongst the best as he continues to improve.

“Marcus is a hard worker, and he wants to go against the best, and we see that,” junior running back Johnathan Gray said. “That’s what we want. We want guys like Marcus to call out some of those veterans and say ‘Come against me.’ That’s what we need, and we love the competitiveness, and we need guys like that to help us win.” 

Because of Johnson’s willingness to challenge himself, it won’t be a surprise if he finishes 2014 as Texas’ leading receiver. 

Ultimately, it will come down to Johnson continuing to take advantage of his opportunities to impact games like he did in 2013.

“It’s funny, because if I would’ve dropped the pass against Oklahoma, it would’ve been a lot different right now,” Johnson said. 

But Johnson hauled in that pass, showing a penchant for making explosive plays that he would repeat on an identical route for a 65-yard touchdown in the next game against TCU. As Texas’ top returning deep threat, the rising junior is poised to take on a vital role in Texas’ passing game.

“When the opportunity or chance comes, [it’s] just [about] taking advantage of it and continuing to build and grow,” Johnson said.

Tight end Jimmy Graham and the New Orleans Saints had been at odds for months over contract disputes, to the point where the NFL had to step in. Graham was attempting to cash in after his phenomenal season by claiming himself as a wide receiver as opposed to a tight end. Why? How about a salary difference of roughly five million dollars.

A franchise tag for wide receivers would allow a player to get paid around $12 million a year, while a tight end would get just $7 million. So there was reasoning behind Graham’s frustration and the 27-year-old tight end also had a valid argument.

Graham lined up as a wide receiver on two thirds of the Saints offensive snaps. On average, NFL tight ends lined up wide just 28 percent of the time. Those stats alone explain why Graham could be considered a wide receiver.

Saints head coach, Sean Payton and owner Mickey Loomis both argued against Graham during the hearings in court. This could very well have led to bad blood between Graham and New Orleans. But, with the ruling being that Graham is a tight end and the deadline fast approaching, the two sides came to an agreement. The team signed Graham to a record-breaking tight end deal that left both sides happy.

Graham’s four year, $40 million dollar deal, with $21 million guaranteed, will make him the highest paid tight end in the league's history. The contract surpasses Dallas Clark’s 2008 agreement with the Indianapolis Colts. It will also make the New Orleans Saints a legitimate contender to dethrone the Seahawks.

This signing shows great of maturity from the young tight end. Graham could have very easily dragged this thing out longer, until he got the wide receiver monye he wanted. However, this signing will leave no lingering animosity, and the franchise can now set its sights on making another Super Bowl run. 

It has been over a week since the NFL’s free agency period began and most of the damage has already been done. Did your team fall into our list of winners or losers?


Denver Broncos:

Clearly the 43-8 obliteration at the hands of Seattle in the Super Bowl didn’t sit well with the Broncos, as they added hybrid defensive end DeMarcus Ware, cornerback Aqib Talib and safety 
T.J. Ward on the defensive side of the ball.

The Broncos lost wide receiver Eric Decker but were able to replace him with former Steeler Emmanuel Sanders.

New England Patriots

The Patriots always seem to add the right players to fit their scheme and this free agency period was no different.

New England lost cornerback Aqib Talib to Denver but made a big splash by adding cornerback Darrelle Revis. The Patriots also added cornerback Brandon Browner from Seattle, but Browner will miss four games due to a suspension.

The Patriots were also able to resign wide receiver Julian Edelman. Edelman was a big part of New England’s success in 2013 with six touchdowns and 1,056 receiving yards.

Chicago Bears

The Bears defense was atrocious last season - they lacked a pass rush, giving opposing quarterbacks plenty of time to light them up through the air.

Chicago did lose defensive end Julius Peppers but it replaced him with Lamarr Houston and Willie Young, two solid pickups.

The Bears also added former Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings, defensive back Danny McCray and wide receiver Domenik Hixon.


Carolina Panthers

The Panthers had a rough free agency as they lost wide receivers Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell and Hixon.

On the defensive side of the ball, Carolina also lost cornerback Captain Munnerlyn and safety Mike Mitchell.

Kansas City Chiefs

After a successful regular season, the Kansas City Chiefs lost a lot of momentum during the offseason. Free agency was not kind to Andy Reid and Co.

Kansas City lost offensive tackle Brandon Albert, offensive guard Geoff Schwartz, wide receiver Dexter McCluster, and defensive end Tyson Jackson.

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys lost their all-time sack leader DeMarcus Ware to the Denver Broncos. Losing Ware 
is a huge blow to the Cowboys chemistry as Ware was an important member of the defense. The Cowboys also lost defensive back Danny McCray to the Chicago Bears.

They did add backup quarterback Brandon Weeden and defensive tackle Henry Melton but losing Ware puts the Cowboys among the free agency losers. 

After sitting out a one-game suspension, sophomore wide receiver Daje Johnson is ready to return to the field. Johnson, along with fullback Chet Moss, sat out against Texas Tech for an unspecified violation of team rules.

This is the second violation of team rules for Johnson, who missed the 2012 season opener against Wyoming for the same reason. A main focus at the beginning of the season for the sophomore was that his issues were behind him, and he had grown in his maturity. Unfortunately, after suffering an ankle injury against BYU earlier in the season, Johnson has had limited big play production, and those issues resurfaced.

The Pflugerville native is listed back in his usual wide receiver position, and head coach Mack Brown said he will also be back in the mix on punt and kickoff returns.

Steve Edmond out for the season

Junior linebacker Steve Edmond suffered a lacerated liver in last Thursday’s Thanksgiving matchup and will miss the rest of the season. Edmond was injured after he took a hard block to the rib area in the second quarter, which caused him to leave the game.

Edmond leads the team in tackles with 73 and has also tallied two interceptions this season. Brown said he expects the junior to be fully ready to play again in the spring.

Edmond’s injury further thins the linebacker front for Texas, as senior Jordan Hicks and junior Tevin Jackson are also out with injuries. The Longhorns now look at sophomore Peter Jinkins, redshirt freshman Timothy Cole and junior Kendall Thompson to step up in Edmond’s place.

Texas to close out Floyd Casey Stadium

The Longhorns’ game against Baylor on Saturday will be the last contest played at the Bears’ Floyd Casey Stadium.

The Waco stadium, which opened in 1950, was first named Baylor Stadium and has become a staple of Baylor athletics. Texas fans usually flock to the oval-shaped stadium when the Longhorns make an appearance in Waco, bringing, at times, about 25,000 to 30,000 fans in burnt orange.

The tarp, which usually covers the seats in the south end zone at the stadium, will be lifted for the season finale. 

Texas has a 29-15-2 record in Waco in the 102-game series and will look to add one more to the win column as it tries for at least a share of the Big 12 title.

“I think it’s a great story line,” senior offensive lineman Mason Walters said. “We like that opportunity. We like our odds, [and we’re] looking forward to a great game. [With] that being the last in Floyd Casey Stadium, it will just be a great environment.”