AUSTIN (KXAN) — Much has been said about Texas’ ability to stretch the field with the downfield passing game this season. Quinn Ewers silenced the critics a bit with two long touchdown passes to Xavier Worthy and Adonai Mitchell, but a key player who operates in the middle of the field is senior Jordan Whittington.

With seven catches for 91 yards in two games this season, Whittington is set to make his 17th start for the Longhorns on Saturday against Wyoming. As the team’s best possession receiver, he’s asked to do just about everything — from making tough catches in traffic knowing he’s going to get hit as soon as he brings it in, and blocking linebackers to help spring big gains for running backs. He’s a jack-of-all-trades guy who also plays on special teams, and he’s the kind of glue guy head coach Steve Sarkisian loves.

“Nobody prepares better than he does,” Sarkisian said of Whittington. “He can do so many different things for us, and he’s so critical for us over the middle and on third down.”

Against Alabama, Whittington made a key play on a fourth-quarter touchdown drive to help seal the 34-24 win. On 2nd-and-15 from the Texas 20-yard line, Whittington corraled a short pass from Ewers and turned it into a huge gain, breaking a tackle and then reversing his field for a 31-yard gain. Four plays later, Ewers hit Mitchell for the back-breaking 39-yard score that gave the Longhorns a two-score lead.

Throughout the game, Sarkisian asked Whittington to do some things not a lot of receivers would be thrilled about. However, Whittington’s willingness to do whatever it takes to make the team better is one reason why the Longhorns’ offense operates so well.

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“We asked him to block a defensive end from Alabama to go spin a run, and he blocked a linebacker earlier in the game. There’s just so many tools in his toolbox we can rely on.”

In his fourth year in the program, Whittington’s laidback demeanor and optimistic outlook permeate not only the other receivers, but the entire team. He’s just a guy from Cuero, Texas who wants to play some ball and have fun while he can.

“It’s something we preach in the receiver room, just having good energy and good vibes,” Whittington said during the Big 12 Media Days in July. “A lot of them see the interviews and the stuff I talk about.”

He said during media days that this year’s team is “powered by love,” and that everyone trusts everybody else to do what’s necessary to succeed.

“I think we trust each other more than we ever have and I think we believe in what we’re doing more than we ever have,” he said. “I think when you mix all those it’s really hard to stop that mixed with the amount of talent we have.”