August 16, 2009

Countdown to kickoff: No. 14 John Chiles

Name: John Chiles

Position: Wide receiver

Classification: Junior

Prep credentials: The former Mansfield Summit star was a four-star prospect (6.0) who was ranked as the nation's No.2 athlete and No. 31 overall prospect. Chiles was ranked as the state's No.4 overall prospect by Lone Star Recruiting, while Rivals ranked him as the state's No.5 player.

Click here to see Chiles' high school film

2008 stats: The sophomore back-up quarterback played in 11 games and completed 11 of 13 passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns. He also gained 131 yards and two touchdowns on the ground (2.9 yards per carry), while also recording one reception for six yards.

2008 Honors: None

Click here to see Williams' 2008 highlight film via UT's official website

Career stats: In two seasons at quarterback Chiles completed 12 of 22 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns. He also has rushed for 322 yards and four touchdowns (4.0 yards per carry), while adding two receptions for 15 yards.

Best game in 2008: Chiles gained 72 yards on 10 carries, including a career best 25-yard touchdown scamper (while also completing a 12yard pass), in a 52-10 win over Rice.

Scouting Report: From the moment that Chiles first stepped foot on the University of Texas campus, the hope has been that he would emerge as the type of game-changing offensive weapon that can change the way opposing defenses are forced to defend the Longhorn offense. Through his first two collegiate seasons, Chiles wasn't that type of player as a quarterback/part-time receiver, which led to a full-time switch to wide receiver this spring.

One issue that has held Chiles back is conditioning, but that shouldn't be an issue in 2009. The 10 pounds that Chiles has dropped since last season should give him a chance to become a much more explosive player with the ball in his hands, at least that's the hope. When you look at the projected top five or six receivers on the Longhorn roster, Chiles might give Greg Davis his best after-the-catch threat. Although he's yet to display the kind of acceleration in space that made him one of the nation's top athletes in 2007, he showed this spring that he has the ability to make people miss and his strength makes him a difficult guy to get to the ground once he gets past the second level.

It'll be interesting to see what kind of versatility he shows in the way of route running this season. The smart money has the Longhorns looking to get him the ball on screens, hitches, slants - anything that's short-to-intermediate and allows him to get after the catch opportunities. When Chiles played receiver in high school, he proved to be a terrific vertical/deep route threat because of his leaping ability and strength. In a one-on-one situation for the ball, Chiles is going to be a tough match-up for opposing defensive backs and he'll win most jump ball opportunities.

Also, it would be foolish to ignore the all-purpose threat that Chiles gives the Longhorns when he's on the field because he can line-up anywhere and be the focal-point of quite a few specialty packages. If there's a Wildcat formation anywhere in the Texas offense, you'd have to think Chiles will play a big role in it.

The big hope… Chiles emerges as a big-play weapon and all-purpose threat at receiver for Colt McCoy.

The big worry… Even with the loss in weight, he still isn't the explosive threat that the Longhorns are looking for. Also, will Chiles get enough passes through his way with the likes of Jordan Shipley, James Kirkendoll, Brandon Collins and Malcolm Williams all returning to the position?

Did you know? He volunteered at a homeless shelter in the Dallas Life Community Service program.

NFL Scouting report:"From what I've seen, he's not in the same discussion as some of the other receivers on the team. Physically, he reminds me of Anquan Boldin and they have similar backgrounds. The problem is that he's not Anquan Boldin or anything close to that based on what I watched last season."

The bottom line: Chiles is already receiving a lot of snaps with the first-team offense, so he's going to be a part of what the Longhorns do on that side of the ball. Look for him to get his hands on the ball 2-4 times per game if he can prove that he's found the explosiveness in his game that wasn't always apparent the last two seasons. If he can't prove very early that he needs to be on the field, he might find that playing time will become scarcer when the schedule gets into October.

No.16 - David SnowNo.17 - Curtis BrownNo.18 - Malcolm WilliamsNo.19 - Keenan RobinsonNo.20 - Vondrell McGeeNo.21 - Blake GideonNo.22 - Adam UlatoskiNo.23 - Ben AlexanderNo.24 - James KirkendollNo.25 - Jared Norton
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