Xavier Worthy’s Journey to Texas, NFL Stardom at NFL Combine

    Before breaking a Combine record and starring for the Texas Longhorns, Xavier Worthy committed to the Michigan Wolverines as a high school recruit.

    Texas Longhorns WR Xavier Worthy lit the college football and NFL worlds aflame after setting the Combine record for the 40-yard dash at 4.21 seconds. But before stepping onto the field at Lucas Oil Stadium and torching defenses for Texas, Worthy committed to Michigan.

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    Recapping Xavier Worthy’s College Football Journey

    As a four-star recruit and the No. 8 overall WR in the 2021 recruiting class, Worthy had nearly every program seeking his signature. In June 2020, he appeared to be a near-lock to sign with Mario Cristobal’s Oregon squad.

    The Ducks were in need of offensive weapons, and they blitzed the recruiting trail to bolster their arsenal, earning commitments from five-star WR Troy Franklin, All-American Kyron Ware-Hudson, RB/slot WR Seven McGee, and top-seven TEs Moliki Matavao and Terrance Ferguson.

    Nevertheless, Worthy was still a coveted speedster, but when he postponed his June 27 announcement, Oregon saw the writing on the wall and focused its attention elsewhere. They signed All-American Isaiah Brevard before Worthy officially committed to Michigan and No. 6 WR Dont’e Thornton Jr. shortly after.

    Despite taking an unofficial visit to Alabama in November, Worthy signed his letter of intent in December to join the Wolverines as an early enrollee. Yet, just a few months later, he decommited from Michigan and pledged his allegiance to Texas.

    Players flip commitments on a regular basis, but this move stemmed from an issue Worthy’s mother, Nicky Jones, shared with The Athletic in 2023.

    Leaving Ann Arbor for Austin

    Worthy’s high school district in Fresno, Calif., didn’t allow seniors to graduate early, forcing his mother to get creative. She enrolled him in an online program for the fall of 2020 and ensured his class schedule met all graduation and NCAA eligibility requirements.

    Two weeks before Worthy moved to Ann Arbor with the Wolverines’s freshman enrollees, including QB J.J. McCarthy and RB Donovan Edwards, an issue arose. Michigan wasn’t able to admit Worthy, and he was told that, based on his academic profile, it would be better for him to enroll in the school’s June summer bridge program. This, of course, came as a shock to his mother.

    “For me, that didn’t fly. I turned in all of his academic paperwork and applications in September,” Jones explained to The Athletic. “As far as I had been told, up until two weeks before, he was on track to enroll early. There was nothing missing, nothing short; they’d waived the SATs. It didn’t make sense. Something wasn’t right. What’s the problem, and why am I finding out about this now?”

    In January 2021, Worthy had an apartment in Ann Arbor, but while the rest of Michigan’s early enrollees were on campus, he wasn’t allowed to work out in the building and could only attend Zoom meetings. Following a month of the same routine, Worthy moved back to Fresno and asked out of his letter of intent.

    “Michigan messed that up. The trust wasn’t there,” Jones continued. “For us, trust is so big in everything. We just never felt like we were getting the truth about what happened. It was just a lot of, ‘We’re sorry.’”

    Steve Sarkisian, who had recruited Worthy at Alabama before officially becoming Texas’ next head coach on Jan. 2, 2021, jumped at the opportunity to bring him to Austin. Three years later, the decision proved to be the correct one for both parties.

    Worthy Blazes Both Toward NFL Stardom

    In three years and 39 career starts at Texas, Worthy hauled in 197 receptions (sixth in school history) for 2,755 yards (fourth) and 26 touchdown receptions (third). He even generated 564 yards on punt returns, eighth all-time among Longhorns. And with such production came the accolades:

    • 2023 third-team All-American
    • 2023 first-team All-Big 12
    • 2022 second-team All-Big 12
    • 2021 first-team All-Big 12
    • 2021 Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year
    • 2021 AP Big 12 Newcomer of the Year

    KEEP READING: College Football’s Fastest Players of 2023

    Upon the conclusion of the 2023 season, Worthy declared for the 2024 NFL Draft with much fanfare. After sitting out the all-star game circuit, his first shot at increasing his draft stock was the NFL Combine — he didn’t disappoint. On top of breaking the Combine’s 40-yard dash record, the Texas terror hit 41″ in the vertical (fourth among WRs) and 10’11” in the broad jump (fifth).

    Worthy checks in as PFN’s No. 34 overall prospect, but after his Combine showing, he’ll have one lucky team attempting to match his 40-yard dash time while turning the card in on Day 1.

    Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!


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