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Texas’ blazin’ burners steal the show as Xavier Worthy breaks combine record

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By: Thomas Butler-Guerrero

Adonai Mitchell (#5) of the Texas Longhorns celebrates his touchdown catch with Xavier Worthy (#1) during the fourth quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium — September 09, 2023 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. | Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The receiving duo led the Longhorns explosive offense to the first College Football Playoff berth in program history.

INDIANAPOLIS – Kids study their idols and devour endless hours of tape in hopes of one day embracing the opportunity to mimic their inspiration.

It’s not often a player receives a standing ovation before he performs. Thousands of fans knew what was at stake as Xavier Worthy aimed to threaten John Ross’ 4.22 combine record and match the fastest 40-yard dash time in the history of the combine. When Worthy crossed the finish line, a thunderous roar of cheers echoed through Lucas Oil Stadium to applaud his record-breaking achievement of 4.21.

The pair of former teammates at Texas spoke to reporters on Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine. The receiving duo led the Longhorns’ explosive offense to the first College Football Playoff berth in program history. Adonai Mitchell measures at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, whereas Worthy measures at 5-foot-11, 165 pounds. Both are considered highly touted skill players among a loaded receiver class and are projected to be picked in Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Worthy carries an “explosive dynamic” that can benefit any NFL roster as a burner on the perimeter, with additional value as a punt returner. NFL Draft rooms will weigh his speed against his slim frame, but Worthy’s ability to beat man coverage and stretch the gridiron both vertically and horizontally may influence teams to take the gamble.

“I feel like leaving the interview, I kind of want (teams) to see how smart I am with football,” Worthy said. “I feel like I have a really high football IQ, so I want to just leave that impression on them.”

Worthy earned a Second-Team All-America selection after racking up 75 catches for 1,014 receiving yards and five touchdowns In 14 games. He finished his three-year college career third all-time in Texas program history with 26 touchdowns and fourth all-time with 2,755 receiving yards.

Desean Jackson was Worthy’s idol growing up, claiming to have studied the former receiver’s film since he was five-years old. Worthy chose to limit Saturday’s workout to running the 40-yard dash and compete in the vertical and broad jump. There is tremendous depth of receivers when scouting the 2024 NFL Draft, but Worthy mentioned his route running ability may separate him from the rest of the astounding class.

“I feel like with my speed and the ability to stop,” Worthy said. “I feel like a lot of receivers with my speed don’t have the ability to stop how I do, so I feel like that is what separates me.”

Mitchell let his film speak for himself while enduring numerous interviews with NFL teams. It’s been two years since Stetson Bennett launched a deep ball and a freshman Mitchell snagged a 40-yard touchdown to give Georgia a 19-18 lead over Alabama in the fourth quarter of the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship game in Indianapolis.

After winning back-to-back national championships at Georgia, Mitchell hit the transfer portal and landed in Austin, which is 165 miles from his hometown in Missouri City, Texas. In 14 games, Mitchell caught 55 passes for 845 receiving yards and led the Big 12 with 11 receiving touchdowns. The Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year believes in his “versatility” playing both inside and outside.

“I like to change my pace in routes,” Mitchell said. “I never run my routes full speed. That is just a part of my games that allows me to run routes for the whole drive. Mostly just feel like I’m in control when I’m running routes with the people I’m going against.”

Among the first group of receivers, Mitchell posted the fastest 40-yard dash time at 4.34 and his 11-foot, 4-inch broad jump was the sixth-furthest jump for a receiver all-time at the combine. He scored an unofficial 9.98 Relative Athletic Score out of a possible 10.00, which ranks as the eighth-highest score among receivers since 1987.

He grew up studying three-time First-Team All-Pro Devante Adams during his stretch with the Green Bay Packers. Mitchell is an ascending prospect who possesses every trait to become a star receiver in the NFL. He has the speed to burst past cornerbacks in press coverage and the talent to haul in the deep throws. Mitchell wants teams to discover who he is as a player after watching his film, meeting in person and observing his professional workout on Saturday.

“Just living, speaking with them,” Mitchell said. “Every time I get a chance to speak with them. The work on the field, that is just going to show. A lot of things just go without being said, but just the extra work that I’m willing to put in. The extra studying that I’m willing to put in. Just how I learn plays and who I am everyday.”

Originally posted on Stampede Blue – All Posts