Jordan Shipley, who is No. 3 nationally in receptions per game (9.0), has 36 catches for 436 yards and two touchdowns and is on pace to catch 108 passes in 12 games this season.
Whether or not Dez Bryant of Oklahoma State plays another snap this season after his NCAA suspension, Shipley should be considered for All-Big 12 and All-America honors.
THE CENTURY MARK
If Shipley was to catch 100 passes, he would join only Kwame Cavil (100 receptions in 1999) in UT history to do so.
Greg Davis compared a 100-catch season to a running back rushing for 2,000 yards. Davis said Shipley's secret to success is an amazing endurance that allowed him to play 88 snaps in the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State. Shipley also is in such great shape he is often used to give Dan Buckner a breather in the flex/TE position.
"He has an unbelievable ability to play a bunch of snaps," Davis said of Shipley. "Some receivers can, some can't. It doesn't always have to do with being in incredible shape. He played 88 snaps in the Fiesta Bowl.
"So when someone needs a blow, because of his experience, it allows us to put him in different places and give someone a blow. It also makes the defense find him a little bit instead of him always being the single receiver."
I asked Davis how common it is for a receiver to be able to play so many snaps in a game.
"It's more uncommon than you might think," Davis said. "You think of receivers being gazelles and can run all day. But many of them when they get into 60 snaps, they begin to drop off. And many begin to drop off in blocking.
"When they've got a clear-out route to the other side, they begin to catch their breath in those situations. So that's why we try to rotate them around."
A 'GYM RAT'
Davis said Shipley is a "typical gym rat."
"He's in the weight room," Davis said. "Anyone who will throw a ball, he'll catch. A manager, you name it. He'll work out on the JUGS machine. He's a pleasure to coach because he does work so hard."
During the summer, when the team would agree to meet on three to four days a week to work out in seven-on-seven and run, Shipley would run on his own the remaining days of the week.
"I've always done extra stuff, extra running," Shipley said. "During the season, I run enough in practice to where I don't have to run a bunch. It's mostly doing the work in the summer."
WORKING TOO HARD
That work ethic got him in trouble when he was coming back from a knee injury that caused him to miss his freshman year in 2004. He overdid his rehab, and blew out his hamstring, costing him the 2005 season.
"It's always been a challenge for me not to do too much," Shipley said. "Doing extra has kind of made me what I am. But when you've got injuries you have to know when the back off and let stuff heal. That was definitely a struggle for me my first two years here."
Shipley said playing 88 snaps in a game for him is no big deal because he never came off the field at Burnet High School, when he was kicking field goals, kicking off and catching passes from his then-quarterback Stephen McGee.
"I was kicking field goals, kicking off, running back punts and kicks," Shipley said. "I'm used to being on the field a bunch. And that kind of helps with being in shape and the off-season workouts are big for being in the right condition."
Colt McCoy, Shipley's best friend and roommate, was asked if he like to throw 100 passes this season to Shipley.
"I think it would be great," McCoy said. "It would mean the protection is great and that we're running the ball and still being able to get Jordan the ball in the flow of the offense."
McCoy also agreed that Shipley, who returned a punt for a touchdown against Texas Tech, should be considered for the Heisman Trophy.
Shipley, who would rather be hunting or fishing than just about anything, said he doesn't care about individual honors.
"I don't care as far as numbers," Shipley said. "All I want to catch is however many it takes for the team to be successful. I just want to catch it whenever they throw it to me."