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Class of 2021 Prospect Profiles: Xavier Worthy

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Yet again, Michigan adds one of the fastest players in the country.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Xavier Worthy

Position: WR

High School: Fresno Central (CA)

Measurables: 6-foot-1, 180 pounds

Ranking: Four-star (.9648 composite), No. 76 overall, No. 12 WR

Other finalists: Alabama, Oregon

Accolades: All-American Bowl, 2019 CIF Central Section Champion

Recruitment

Since being hired as the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach last season, Josh Gattis has overhauled the level of speed at his position. In 2019 he added A.J. Henning and Roman Wilson, two speedsters with sub 11-second times in the 100-yard dash. But he may have landed his fastest guy yet in this cycle with Fresno native Xavier Worthy.

Worthy put up a personal best 10.55 in the 100-yard dash as a sophomore. Unfortunately, that was the last time he was able to showcase his speed because the pandemic canceled pushed his junior season to the spring, and he’s set to enroll early at Michigan. But he was expected to run in the 10.2-10.3 range, making him one of the fastest players in the country.

Then you turn on his junior highlight film and wonder how Worthy was ever ranked as a three-star prospect when Michigan offered him back in late February. On the same day he received his offer from Michigan, 247Sports bumped his rating from an 83 to an 88, but he was still ranked in the 500s overall. Eventually, as more and more schools offered him, he continued to climb. Rivals refused to correct their 5.5 rating until California announced there would be no fall football season, so they bumped him up to a 5.9 as to not look foolish for so long.

All of this helium resulted in top-100 composite ranking for Worthy and a who’s-who top six list that included Michigan, Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Auburn and Oregon. Heading into a summer decision, it looked like Oregon would be the choice. But in a twist that almost exactly mirrored another four-star speedster from California two years ago, Giles Jackson, Michigan surged late to overcome the Ducks and secure one of the most electrifying players in the country.

But the drama wasn’t over yet. Worthy was able to visit campus for the first time for the Michigan State game this fall, but the season was bad enough that he started to look around in the event that Gattis was sent packing. Instead of Oregon threatening this time, it was the final boss, Alabama. Worthy took a trip to Tuscaloosa for the Iron Bowl, a terrifying proposition as DeVonta Smith, who Gattis compares Worthy to, lit up the scoreboard.

The worst fears were confirmed when Worthy announced on Instagram he would be making his final decision between Alabama and Michigan on signing day. Hopes were low Michigan could hang on, but optimism started increasing by the day. At some point, Worthy got enough confirmation that Gattis would be coaching him at the next level, and he stuck with his original pledge, giving Michigan fans the joy of winning his recruitment all over again.

Stats

Sophomore (11 games): 10 rec, 259 yards, 3 TDs, 5 KR, 115 yards, 23 AVG

Junior (15 games): 54 rec, 992 yards, 16 TDs, 8 KR, 312 yards, 39 AVG, 2 TDs

Scouting

Maize n Brew scouting report

Pros

  • Elite speed and acceleration
  • Fluid athlete with great change of direction
  • Excellent kick returner

Cons

  • Slight build, will have to add bulk
  • Footwork on route running has to be refined

Final Thoughts

I brought it up above, but it’s hard not to drool over Worthy’s speed. He’s not only extremely fast, but he gets to his top speed really quickly. This acceleration allows him to stem his routes and get out on breaks fast to create separation in man coverage.

His quickness also allows him to change direction on a dime. His body control and fluidity make him very elusive, as evidenced by his ability in the kick return game. In the full games I watched, his hands looked good, although he could catch the ball away from his body more rather than bringing it into his chest.

At 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, Worthy is pretty slim right now. He’ll have to add some strength to withstand hits, and it shouldn’t sacrifice his speed at all. Worthy lined up in the slot most of the time as a junior, but his longer frame will allow him to play on the outside as well.