With only 53 days left to go before the Matt Wells era of Texas Tech Red Raider football begins against Montana State Bobcats, its time for us to discuss both players who will wear number 53 this season, junior defensive lineman Eli Howard and freshman offensive lineman Trevor Roberson.
Eli Howard is a 6-4, 270 pound defensive end from Central High School in San Angelo, Texas, originally signed with North Texas in the 2015 season before transferring to Texas Tech and sitting out his first season on campus in 2016. While in high school, Eli was regarded as one of the best lineman in all of west Texas, totaling 61 tackles his senior season, with 11 going for a loss, six sacks, two fumble recoveries and one interception. He was named to the All-West Texas Super team by the San Angelo Standard-Times and helped lead Central to the regional finals his senior year.
2017, his first full season, became Eli Howard’s welcome party, and he did not disappoint. Howard appeared in all 13 games, starting all final seven games of the season. He ended the year as the team leader in tackles for loss and sacks and ended the season with 27 total tackles overall, 20 of them solo, ranking eighth in total sacks in the Big 12. He was voted honorable mention All-Big 12 by the conference coaches, again, his first year playing for Texas Tech. 2018 saw Howard continue to shine as he appeared in all 12 games and starting 11 at the defensive end position. Howard totaled 37 tackles on the season, four of which went for losses, 3.5 sacks, nine quarterback hurries and one fumble recovery. Again, Eli was selected All-Big 12 honorable mention and Academic All-Big 12 first team.
Looking forward to 2019, Eli Howard is absolutely one of the most important players on the roster for Head Coach Matt Wells and Defensive Coordinator Keith Patterson. When you talk about West Texas football, Eli Howard is the player you envision. Great motor, excellent pass rush skills, more athletic than he seems, and more pure, real toughness than Baker Mayfield has fake-toughness (and that is a lot).
Speaking of West Texas, our other number 53 comes to us from just north of Lubbock, from the town of Wellington, Texas. Trevor Roberson truly stands outs, not only as a football player, but maybe one of the tallest and biggest players Lubbock has ever seen. At 6-11, 345 pounds, the freshman offensive lineman joins already stacked unit talent-wise, which should allow him to redshirt in 2019 and continue to build and work at his craft. Trevor signed with Texas Tech as part of the 2019 recruiting class out of Wellington High School, where Roberson was regarded as a three-star prospect according to 247Sports, Rivals and ESPN.
Roberson was ranked the number 45 offensive tackle in the 2019 class by 247Sports. Roberson chose Texas Tech over offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Houston, Iowa State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and TCU. With the talent Trevor possesses and the natural length and strength, Texas Tech has a potential All-Big 12 offensive tackle for multiple seasons when his chance to shine comes around.