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GOMEANGREEN Postional Breakdown: Wide Receivers

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1 hour ago, Dannymacfan said:

Good article.  I hadn't realized how much of a strength it was until reading this.  I think losing Jyaire made me think we had a big hole.  Also what happened to that tall receiver Tommy Bush?

the usual suspects GIF

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I'm a little less bull-ish on this group mostly because I'm not sure how much cohesion they'll have with the quarterbacks. Also, the offense under Morris might rely more on precision than downfield athleticism. I love Ward and Burns I just wonder if they can adapt quickly. Just be prepared for a more short passing offense. Last year we had seven guys over twelve yards a catch. WSU didn't have one. 

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2 hours ago, Danish43 said:

After leaving NT, did he continue to play?

I think he's lucky to not be in prison after what "allegedly" happened (domestic assault).

Edited by jtm0097
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/3/2023 at 9:31 AM, TheReal_jayD said:


Wide Reciever.png


Part 2 of the 3-part Offensive Skill Position Preview – Wide Receiver

North Texas’s Wide Receiver room has made giant leaps in the last decade. I know a lot of it has to do with the style of play. But it cannot all be about the X's and O's. I think that Jimmy and Joe's of this group have taken huge steps since the arrival of Seth Littrell. Let us go back in history and look at the 2012 North Texas football team just to see how big of an improvement the wide receiver room has made in the last 10 years.

In 2012 North Texas had three receivers get 300 yards more receiving for the season. The receivers were Ivan Delgado, Brelan Chancellor, and Darnell Smith. Brelan will go down as one of the greatest to ever wear the Green. But in comparison this last year North Texas team had seven players hit the 300-yard mark. They will be returning four of the seven. The returning wide receivers that hit the 300 yard mark are Roderic Burns, Ja’mori Maclin, Damon Ward and Jordan Smart. Returning over 50% of your top producers is impressive by itself. They only lost one wide receiver from the top seven pass catchers.

Yet there was a key defection.  Jyaire Shorter transferred to Auburn this off-season. He could take the top of a defense and was one of the best deep threats in the country. Health was the only thing that could stop Shorter while he was at UNT. I wish Jyaire the best as he moves on. But the fact that they went out and made some big-time additions from the P5 ranks and getting one of their most impressive recruits back from an injury. This group has the potential to be one of the deepest wide receiver rooms in the country at any level. Let us get into it.



The trio of Rod Burns, Ja’mori Maclin and Damon Ward have proven they can produce for North Texas. The three of them combined for 1,434 receiving yards and six touchdowns on eighty-two catches. They each have taken different paths to get here. But these will be the three that are relied on the most this fall when it comes to moving the chains.

Rod has turned into one of the best stories in the last few years with North Texas football. He went from walk-on to leading receiver and a trophy case full of accolades along the way. He got his first real game time in 2020 when he played nine games while catching twelve balls. 2021 was the rod burns coming out party. Rod started the season with back-to-back 100-yard performances.  He finished the season with fifty-eight receptions for eight hundred yards. He earned a scholarship in September of that year. In twenty-two his production dropped a smidge on forty catches for 676 yards. But he led the team in both categories. Rod is not the fastest or the most twitch. But he is super consistent and understands the soft spots in the defense. If an accurate QB like Chandler Rogers wins the job, I believe we could see Rod’s best year yet.

Maclin was a transfer from SEC Missouri last season. He was the highest profile WR recruit UNT had landed since Jaylen Guyton. Ja’mori did not disappoint in his first season in Denton. He started the first game of the season, had two catches in his debut and he did not look back. He would finish the season with sixteen catches for 380 yards. If you are trying to do the math at home to figure what the yards per catch was. That is 23.8 yards a catch. That was enough for second in the nation for YPC. Former teammate and Auburn Tiger Jyaire Shorter was first on the list. Maclin will be a burner that can take it to the house any time he catches the ball. Maclin is my pick for this group to have the best chance to make all conference.

Damon Ward is the silent assassin. He is the most underrated wide receiver in the room. He is not talked about near enough for the production he has had the last two seasons. He came to North Texas with HS teammate and former UNT WR Deonte Simpson. I feel like Simpson overshadowed Ward early on. Simpson had a huge game during the State Championship. Then he got to campus and played day one. Ward redshirted in 2019 then was injured in 2020. Simpson left the football program after 2020. In 2021 Ward finally made the wait worth it and got on the field. He has done an amazing job of staying on the field due to his productivity. He is consistent and solid. Ward has played in twenty-six games in the last two years catching forty-seven passes for 689 yards. Just like with Burns, I think Ward will flourish with an accurate receiver. He comes off as a super smart player that just finds ways to get open.



The transfer portal giveth and taketh away. North Texas fell victim to the portal when they lost Jyaire Shorter to Auburn this offseason. But they were able to replace him with two Big 12 transfers. The first was Trey Cleveland from Texas Tech. The tallest wide receiver on the roster. He is listed at 6’1 191. Cleveland will be used as a red zone target. He racked up forty-one catches for 566 yards during his three seasons for Tech. He showed flashes at Tech. Like this one-handed catch against Kansas State. Cleveland should/could step in right away and have a huge year for North Texas.

The next Big 12 addition is Blair Conwright from TCU. Blair looked poised to be a star in the making after his first and Sophomore years at TCU. He caught thirty-one passes for 467 yards and 3 TDs. But Conwright, like many others in the college football world, became a victim of a coaching change. New Coach Sonny Dykes and OC Garrett Riley came in last season and led TCU on miracle run to National Championship. Blair could not work his way into rotation with the unfamiliar staff. He showed flashes multiple times at TCU that he has playmaker ability. A change of scenery may be just what he needs to really take off.


Last year North Texas added two WR via the portal the same as this year. But instead of the Big 12 Seth and Co. went and dipped into the Lone Star Conference and the WAC. Even though Jordan Smart (UT Permian Basin) and Kaylon Horton (Tarleton State) may have not came for the “Power 5” ranks they both has huge and immediate impact on the team.

Smart worked his way into the top seven receiving ranking in year one in Denton. He caught twenty-one passes for 331 yards for a score. He had his breakout game against new American Conference mate Memphis. Catching five for eighty-two yards. He capped off a great first campaign with a three reception and ninety-four yards performance in the Frisco Bowl against Boise State. Smart is trending up; I can see him working his way into the starting line up this season.

The second impactful transfer last season was Kaylon Horton from Tarleton State. When describing Horton’s style, it can really be described in one word: SPEED. Game changing speed at that. Kaylon has that rare game changing speed and ability that he can take it to the house at any second and from any position. He is just the type of player you want to get the ball in their hand any way possible and let them go to work. He had 4 TDs last year. One by receiving, two by rushing and one by kick return. I believe Morris and co will continue to use Horton all over the field. Coach Morris has had remarkable success with getting playmakers in space and letting them work. Horton is one of my guys to watch this year.


Detraveon Brown the one-time Ole Miss commit looked poised to have a breakout season after his debut season in 2021. But a knee injury derailed and delayed his encore performance. In 2021 he had eight catches for 170 yards. He will look to grow and improve on those numbers. I do not have any info on how rehab is going for Detraveon. But if healthy he has shown flashes of the ability that explains why he had multiple P5 offers out of high school.


This group’s strength is power in numbers. New OC and WR Coach Jordan Davis is going to spread it out and put these guys in a position to get into one-on-one battles. I still believe this team will put a ton of emphasis on the run game. Even with a former WR calling plays. This group has eight guys that have played a bunch of snaps at the FBS level. It will give Coach Davis the ability to rotate guys in and out. Former Houston Cougar and NFL WR Demarcus Ayers is also assisting with this group. He is a very underrated staffer. He has already paid dividends in the recruiting game. Between the playing experience and the leadership of Davis and Ayers I believe we could look back in December and say this is/was the best position group on the team.

Thanks for the great write up.

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13 hours ago, ScreamingEaglesFan said:

I can’t believe one of the Auburn positional reviews list Jyaire as their sixth best receiver. I expected he’d be bigger than that.

Interesting.  I heard a pod, reviewing their incoming guys, and they were drooling over Shorter.

Honestly, I've been amazed we didnt' talk him up more here on gmg.com.  His stats were astronomical.  The dude was a scoring machine, just didn't get a ton of touches.

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15 hours ago, greenminer said:

Interesting.  I heard a pod, reviewing their incoming guys, and they were drooling over Shorter.

Honestly, I've been amazed we didnt' talk him up more here on gmg.com.  His stats were astronomical.  The dude was a scoring machine, just didn't get a ton of touches.

The dude was a beast… when he was healthy. 

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