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August 18, 2012
WR Breakdown with Davis, Harris and Shipley
WR MIKE DAVIS, junior
****Mike Davis was given the nickname "Magic" by his mother when he was baby (because she loved basketball player Magic Johnson, because his dad played basketball and because Davis was apparently "shooting his Pampers into the trash can.")
Davis wants to people to call him Magic and tried to get Mack Brown to put "Magic Davis" on the back of his jersey, but Mack Brown said no.
"I see it as a new image and just making plays with that," Davis said. "I feel like if my name is going to be 'Magic,' I've got to make magic plays and do magic things. It makes me feel like I've got to hold myself to a higher standard."
Davis tried to check into the dorm this season as Magic Davis. His teammates still aren't warm to the new name. Jaxon Shipley said, "No. Maybe when we're messing around."
Davis said Mack Brown and Bennie Wylie call him Magic.
****There were "a lot of distractions" during last season. But Davis said, "I'm a better person, better player. I have my head on straight and am just ready to win. I feel loose, focused and energized. I'm just happy to be out there playing the game I love to play.
"Last year, my mind just really wasn't there. And my mind is there right now."
Davis, who roomed with malcontent Darius White last season (before White transferred to Missouri), said he briefly thought of walking away from football and pursuing basketball.
"I had other thoughts, but I just kept it with God and talked to Him, and I wasn't going to run away from anything," Davis said. "I just stayed with it, and I'm better for it today."
Davis said everything has changed.
"Going into the summer, I had a different mindset. My mind was clear and I was ready to go to work and grind. I've been grinding all summer.
"I worked some former receivers at Texas, such as Limas Sweed and James Kirkendoll. John Chiles. Jordan Shipley. Even a couple of the tight ends like David Thomas and Jermichael Finley came through. And I tried to ask them all questions."
****As a freshman, Davis started only five games, but he caught 47 passes for 478 yards and 2 touchdowns. As a sophomore, Davis started 11 of 13 games and caught just 45 passes (for 609 yards) and 1 TD.
Davis said he likes hearing now that people are doubting him.
"I'm just ready to play my game. I'm not trying to prove no points. I just want to show people my passion for the game and show them I'm back, ready to make plays."
****Davis said this year's receivers are "ready to show the world this receiving corps is pretty good and can be in the talk with the nation's best receivers."
****Davis leads by example.
"I just do what I'm told and do it the best I can," Davis said.
****John Harris is "smart, strong, with a big body. He can catch in traffic and just wants to grind and work. He helps us a lot of ways."
****Everyone "is on the same page" in Year 2 of the Harsinwhite offense.
"We're on the right track and really know the offense. I'm excited to see what we'll do with it on Saturdays."
****Davis was asked how close he is to having the confidence he had coming out of Skyline High School.
"I'm there. I'm back. I'm ready to compete."
WR JOHN HARRIS, sophomore
****Weighs "between 215 and 220, depending on the day."
****The broken left foot (that sidelined him Game 3 for the remainder of last season) is fully recovered.
"Since the second half of spring (football), it hasn't bothered me too much. I may get some pains here and there, but other than that, it doesn't bother me."
John Harris thought he'd be back for the Texas A&M game last year, but he said he made a wrong cut in practice that week, and re-aggravated the foot injury.
"I think it helped me mature and get focused for this season coming up."
****The receivers are much more comfortable in Year 2 of the Harsinwhite offense.
"In Year 1, you really don't know the coaches that well. You barely know the offense. We're a lot further along. We're way ahead of where we were last year."
****Communicating and trusting each other is the biggest thing this offense has to accomplish the rest of fall camp.
"Last year, I think we trusted each other, and then we got to the point where people got hurt, and we didn't have that depth at running back and receiver. And you weren't sure if the guy coming in could make sure there was no dropoff. I think we have that this year. We know that if someone goes down, someone else will come in and make a play."
****On what stands out about the offense right now:
"The enthusiasm and everyone working to be the best we can be and becoming one of the top five offenses in the country. It's a legitimate goal. We want to win all 13 games, and to do that you have to be one of the best offenses in the country with no turnovers and a legitimate passing game and running game."
****On what he brings to the offense, "I'm physical. I'm a big guy. I'm not Ship (Jaxon Shipley), and I'm not Mike (Davis). I'm not just a speed guy. With my size, I got big hands and long arms, and I just try to use my big body to shield off defenders, block and maybe take those big hits that maybe Ship or Mike can't take.
****Harris expects to stay healthy, get in a rhythm and help the team any way he can.
"I think I can block and I can catch. I can take a hit and get back up. Honestly, I think I can really block for this offense."
****Harris threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Jaxon Shipley in the opener last year.
"I don't know about the passing game this year. But hopefully, we'll have a little something in there."
****Both David Ash and Case McCoy have improved considerably from last year. Harris was asked if the players would pick one over the other right now.
"That's a really hard question. It could go back and forth daily. It could be David one day and it could be Case one day."
Can the receivers get into a rhythm with two quarterbacks?
"Everyone works with both quarterbacks over the summer, so you kind of develop a rhythm then," Harris said. "In camp, it's more just getting timing down."
****On which QB throws the better deep ball, Harris said:
"Case is getting there. He's worked a lot on his arm with the deep ball, and his deep ball has gotten a lot better," Harris said. "But because David is bigger, he has a pretty good deep ball."
****The leadership on offense is coming from multiple voices.
"It's not just one specific person. I think it's all of us. I think we're all doing it together. We're probably more together this year than we were last year, so it's not just one person."
****True freshmen WRs Marcus Johnson, Cayleb Jones and Kendall Sanders have pushed the veterans.
"They really pushed us in the off-season. They worked hard. I've never seen three freshmen come in and work like that. I don't think we even came in and worked like that. But those three freshmen really want to play, and they have really good enthusiasm. They push us every day to do better."
****Mike Davis has really come on this spring, summer and fall camp.
"Mike kind of fell off at the end of last season, but he's had a great off-season, pushed himself and pushed us as a group. He's doing really good, catching the balls and making the big plays you'd expect him to make.
"He's leading our group and being the leader you'd expect him to be."
****Kendall Sanders has a great work ethic and "some long arms to be 6-feet tall. He catches the ball with one hand a lot. He has great speed. He kind of reminds me of Chris Jones sometimes, when I see him run. He works hard. Great jump ball person. Goes up and gets it in the red zone."
****Marcus Johnson has put in extra time in the weight room to improve.
"In the off-season, Marcus worked his nuts off all the time," Harris said, drawing laughter from reporters. "I saw him in the weight room, even when we weren't in there working out. He has really pushed himself. I don't know if he thinks people don't expect much from him, but he works hard every day."
****Cayleb Jones is "always asking questions and wants to learn. He wants to be good. He's a go-getter."
****Marquise Goodwin is still working his way into the offense.
"He's trying to get back in the flow. But we're calling him 'The Enforcer' right now because when someone messes up, he's on their case right away. It's good to have some senior leadership."
****Mike Davis will be stretching the field this season, not Harris.
"If I'm stretching the field, it will be over the middle," Harris said. "You'll barely see me stretching the field outside. That's where Mike (Davis) and Ship come in. They're very good vertical runners, especially Mike. He's more of our deep-ball guy with speed, gets the quick release and gets outside."
****The Texas receivers are excited to show the Longhorns can still throw the football after a difficult season last year.
"We took a lot of heat last year in that receiver room," Harris said. "I had to sit and watch and listen to some of it without being able to help. Our coach stays on our case about it all the time. We want to be able to hold up our end of the bargain for our team. We don't want to wake up the next day and hear about how we didn't do our job. We want the team to know we've got everyone's back in the passing game."
WR JAXON SHIPLEY, sophomore
****Weighs 193 pounds
****The receiver group "is a lot more physical."
"Not that we weren't last year, but that's been an emphasis for us, and I think we've all bought in and worked on that."
****The receiver group didn't come close to reaching its potential last year.
"We had injuries here and there, and that held us back. With last year being the first year of the offense, we didn't reach our potential. But this year, we have all our plays in. And, hopefully, if we can refrain from having injuries, it should be a really fun year. I definitely think we can reach our potential this year.
"It's the same offense. We just know it now. If we can just be consistent, I think we're going to be pretty good on the offensive side."
****Shipley noticed Mike Davis struggling with off-the-field issues last year.
"There were some times when he would just have some random drops, and that just wasn't like him. So I can definitely see a difference between then and now. This spring, he really rebounded and got all in. He devoted himself to this team, and he really has shown a big change."
****Mike Davis is a guy Shipley looks up to.
"I try to craft my game after him, because he really knows what he's doing. He has kind of rebounded this past spring, and has been great since then. I'm looking forward to a great year beside him."
****People are going to see how physical WR John Harris is this season.
"John's just a big-bodied guy who is really physical and goes up and gets the ball. That's his strength is just going up over people and catching balls."
****Shipley has gotten some snaps in the Wild Formation, but he said there are other guys who have also been put in that position.
****He doesn't joke with the quarterbacks about completing 4-of-4 passes last season, including 3 for touchdowns.
"I'm sure they don't want to hear anything about that," Shipley said. "I was lucky last year to have some plays where I could use my arm. That was a blast for me. I wasn't expecting that. And, hopefully, that's something I can do again this year."
****Marcus Johnson is "extremely quick, really consistent with great hands, and he's definitely a competitive guy. He's competitive by nature and looks great out there."
****Daje Johnson is "one of the fastest guys on the team."
"He is extremely quick, gets off the press, runs great routes and has really natural hands. And he can play receiver, running back, wherever they want him to play."
****Johnathan Gray's work ethic has been compared to Jaxon Shipley
"He's really fast and has great vision. He's shown some great potential so far. He looks like a guy who has been here for several years."
****Texas has great running backs, "but we have some good receivers, too, and I think we can mix in the passing game as well."
****On the progress he's seen at the QB position with David Ash and Case McCoy, Shipley said, "I think they are a lot more confident this year. Last year, there were some struggles with one of them getting pulled and the other one going in. But they've had a great fall camp so far and are both on top of their game.
"They have different skill sets. And we use them to their different skill sets. But we don't know who is going to do what yet. We won't know that, I guess, until the season starts."
Is that hard as a receiver to get a rhythm with the quarterback when they are changing in and out?
"We are used to throwing with all the quarterbacks. As a receiver, it shouldn't matter who is throwing us the ball, we just need to catch it and get our job done."
****Played a lot of golf in his spare time this summer. Best part of his game is his irons. Inconsistent off the tee. Short game is improving. Said Jordan was a really good golfer as a junior, and Jaxon says he's catching up.
****Thinks the 2012 Longhorns will be "very special."
"Obviously we haven't had the greatest last couple seasons. People are going to look down on us for that. But I think this team is going to be something very special. You can just feel the chemistry and buzz out there on the practice field. I think this team may surprise a lot of people."