Year One under Matt Wells comes with uncertainty and a heaping helping of change. In an uncertain middle of the Big 12, these 10 players are the most important to the Red Raiders’ success.
1. Alan Bowman
Sophomore QB /6-foot-3, 210 pounds
2018 stats: 227-327 passing for 2,638 yards, 17 TDs and 7 INTs in 8 games
Notable: Bowman started establishing himself as one of the better quarterbacks in the conference before suffering a partially collapsed lung that caused him to miss a third of the season. Though the offense should look more balanced under new offensive coordinator David Yost, Bowman’s production in Year Two will determine the Red Raiders’ potential.
2. Jordyn Brooks
Senior LB / 6-foot-1, 245 pounds
2018 stats: 84 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 3 sacks, 1 INT, 2 PD in 12 games
Notable: Brooks steps into the hole created by Dakota Allen’s departure to the NFL in the heart of the Texas Tech defense. His wide-ranging skill set allows Brooks to affect the game in many areas, which should be helpful in Year One under Keith Patterson’s defense.
3. Jack Anderson
Junior OL / 6-foot-5, 320 pounds
2018 stats/honors: 12 starts, All-Big 12 second team
Notable: Anderson has started all 25 games in his two years at Texas Tech and anchors one of the most veteran offensive lines in the Big 12. With another solid season this year, Anderson could likely cement himself as a legitimate NFL talent.
4. Ta’Zhawn Henry
Sophomore RB / 5-foot-7, 185 pounds
2018 stats: 86 rushes for 341 yards and 8 TDs, 22 catches for 145 yards and 1 TD
Notable: Texas Tech went 5-0 in games when Henry recorded at least 10 touches last season and 0-7 when he didn’t. Wells is bringing a more balanced offense to Texas Tech and Henry’s ability to replicate his September dominance will be crucial to this offensive unit.
5. Adrian Frye
Sophomore DB / 6-foot-1, 195 pounds
2018 stats: 5 INTs, 18 PDs, 1 TD
Notable: Frye burst onto the scene as an elite defensive back in 2018, earning All-Big 12 first-team and Freshman All-America honors in a stellar first season. His ability to deflect passes and force turnovers will be paramount to the success of this defensive unit.
6. T.J. Vasher
Junior WR / 6-foot-6, 210 pounds
2018 stats: 54 receptions for 687 yards and 7 TDs in 11 games
Notable: Vasher trailed only Antoine Wesley in receptions last season and established himself as a more consistent threat. In a unit filled with so many new faces, Vasher’s experience in chemistry with Bowman will be critical to the team’s offensive success.
7. Broderick Washington Jr.
Senior DL / 6-foot-3, 310 pounds
2018 stats: 41 tackles, 7 TFL, 3 sacks
Notable: As a captain last season, Washington started all 12 games on the defensive line, setting the tone at the line of scrimmage. His pass-rushing ability sets up the rest of this defense for success in passing situations.
8. Travis Koontz
Junior TE / 6-foot-5, 245 pounds
2018 stats: 16 catches for 206 yards and 3 TDs
Notable: Koontz transferred to Texas Tech from Ventura College in California, where 247Sports ranked him the second-best JUCO TE. Texas Tech hasn’t used a tight end often since Jace Amaro, but Yost’s offense prominently features the role in which a big target like Koontz should thrive.
9. Damarcus Fields
Junior DB / 6 feet, 200 pounds
2018 stats: 38 tackles, 1 sack, 11 PD, and 2 FF
Notable: Fields started all 12 games as a sophomore, taking over as one of the cornerstones of the secondary. Having a quality No. 2 cornerback is necessary in a conference full of talented wideouts.
10. Riko Jeffers
Junior LB / 6-foot-2, 240 pounds
2018 stats: 71 tackles, 7 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 PD, 2 FF, 1 FR
Notable: Jeffers contributed heavily to a deep linebacker group last season and will play a bigger role this year. The Red Raiders’ defense will hinge on how well Brooks and Jeffers work together up the middle after the loss of Dakota Allen.
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