Senior Receiver Jacorey Warrick breaks out in his final act

Tyler Horka

Jacorey Warrick first started competitive football at age five. Now he’s a senior receiver at a historic powerhouse football program.

Starting at such a young age led the boy from Cleveland, Texas, all the way to Austin to play the sport he loves. But his time at Texas hasn’t gone quite the way his time at Cypress Falls High School in Houston did.

Warrick came to the 40 Acres as the No. 15 rated receiver in the nation according to ESPN. He was a three-time all-district wide receiver. He’s been anything but an all-conference player in college — he totaled only 16 receptions in his first three seasons.

“At times you get discouraged, especially when the season as a whole isn’t going the way you want it to,” Warrick said. “I’m a pretty optimistic person. I’ve always tried to just look at the brighter side of things, just stay positive.”

His optimism paid off. Warrick leads the Longhorns this season with nine receptions and caught his first collegiate touchdown in last week’s win over UTEP.

Head coach Charlie Strong said before the season started that Warrick had looked sharp in camp. Strong said he expected the guy the team calls “Petey” — a childhood name that’s stuck with him through college — to have a breakout season based on his attitude alone.

 “I just love Petey,” Strong said. “I love the way he comes to work. There are certain guys on your team that you feel really good about. With him, he’s going to give you everything he’s got.”

The difference in Warrick’s production hinges both on a positive attitude toward his senior year and the emergence of freshman quarterback Shane Buechele as Texas’ primary signal caller.

 Not to be overlooked is the new up-tempo offensive scheme that first-year offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert implemented in the offseason. Couple that with Buechele’s impeccable accuracy — he has a 71.7-percent completion percentage — and Warrick has the tools to shine in his senior season.

“Petey has done a great job,” Buechele said. “I love getting the ball to Petey, letting him do what he does best. He’s a great athlete. He’s always fun to throw to.”

Warrick isn’t the only player that Buechele has given extra attention to in the Longhorns’ first two games. The freshman distributed the ball to eight different receivers in those matchups — something that Warrick hopes to see more of this season.

“I’m impressed and I’m just happy for everyone,” Warrick said. “It just feels good to not only thrive myself, but to see my teammates, the guys that you practice with, you sweated so much with, you’ve been through thick and thin with — it feels great for all of us to come out and have success.”

Warrick amassed 129 receiving yards in his first three years as a Longhorn. He’s on pace to rack up more than five times that amount in 2016 — he already has 108 yards on the season.

But senior quarterback Tyrone Swoopes said Warrick has never changed, that this isn’t a new “Petey” but rather one that’s finally been given the opportunity to stand out.

“I guess it took people to see what he has, his skill set, his leadership, things that he can do with the ball in his hands to get him on the field, to show what he has to offer,” Swoopes said.