slow down Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze (it ain’t easy)

The Texas defense has faced its share of standout receivers in recent years.

Take the 2019 season, for example. During a six-week span, the Longhorns had to deal with future NFL standouts CeeDee Lamb, Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson. That trio combined for 27 receptions, 481 yards and six touchdowns against Texas.

Each of the past two NFL drafts have featured a first-round receiver that Texas had to cover that season since UT faced TCU’s Quentin Johnston in 2022 and Arkansas’ Treylon Burks in 2021. Tylan Wallace was a problem for the Longhorns when they played Oklahoma State in 2020.

Now Texas must deal with Rome Odunze.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Odunze has developed into the favored target of Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr., who was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy. Washington’s passing attack leads the country, averaging 343.8 yards per game.

Michigan State’s Marqui Lowery Jr., left, and Jaden Mangham break up a pass against Washington’s Rome Odunze during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing.

“He’s a great receiver. He has great ball skills and he goes up to get it at the highest point. Good, firm body,” UT defensive back Jahdae Barron said on Thursday. “He kind of reminds me of (Adonai) Mitchell in the ball skills that he has, just always able to locate the ball wherever the quarterback puts it. I’d say that one of his strengths is ball skills.”

On his own merit, the 6-foot-4, 196-pound Mitchell has had a great season at Texas. Fifty-one receptions and 813 receiving yards. The eighth Longhorn to have 10 touchdown catches in a single season. A highlight-reel snag to thwart an upset bid by TCU last month.

But the skill sets of Mitchell and Odunze may be the only comparison that Barron can realistically make between the two receivers. That isn’t a knock on…


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