Five Most Important Sophomores on Defense

"Five" is a series of five things, players, thoughts or whatever I think will fill a post.

1. DT Delvon Simmons | There is so much potential in Simmons and you could see it last year, especially late in the year when Simmons rounded into shape. One of the biggest reasons why true freshmen struggle is the adjustment to the physicality and power of the college game. Simmons is blessed with plenty of size, but you could see last year how he was a bit heavy, but if he could readjust his weight and add some strength then there is a really good chance that Simmons could be eligible for some post season honors. Players his size with his raw athletic do not grow on trees, but this is also a situation where much is dependent on Simmons realizing how much talent he has and working hard this offseason to make himself a better player.

2. DE Pete Robertson | We just saw so little of Robertson last year and based on the offseason hype I don't know how or what to think about Robertson. Just to briefly recount the offseason, Robertson was initially recruited as an athlete, started as safety, and moved to linebacker during the year. Injured during the year and during the last two practices of the spring he was moved to defensive end on the advice of Robert Prunty and was then compared to Von Miller. No pressure. So I really have no idea what to expect and maybe that's unfair to have Robertson at number two on this list, but with his size and speed, it leaves you salivating as to what he could do.

3. DE Jackson Richards | One of the more ballyhooed players from the 2010 class, a four star player that never wavered with his commitment to Texas Tech. Because of the defections along the defensive line last year, Jackson had to play as a redshirt freshman and he was okay, but like a lot of players along the line, he was largely quiet. When head coach Tommy Tuberville talked before the spring game, he singled out Jackson as being the most consistent player of the spring. There were maybe better performers, but I get the feeling that Jackson is a worker and a grinder. He will probably never be blessed with an abundance of athleticism, but he will out work you,and just like so many of these players, the hope is that Jackson has improved.

More after the jump.

4. LB Sam Eguavoen | Is anyone going to call me crazy if I think that Eguavoen is going to be a better player than Blake Dees? Dees had the more immediate impact last year, but after watching the two of them during the spring game, Eguavoen looks the part of an what I think Tuberville wants. Dees knows how to play the position, while Eguavoen was playing on instincts only last year. I'd even add that there's a pretty good chance, at least from what I saw during the spring game, that redshirt freshman LB Justin Cooper could even see him pass up Dees on the depth chart for athletic ability alone. Admittedly, Dees plays middle linebacker like Will Smith, but there is a difference in the two of them in terms of athletes. We could get spoiled quickly with Smith. With Eguavoen, I think this year is going to be a whole new world. With some good coaching and a little more size I could see Eguavoen taking a significant step forward.

5. S Austin Stewart | Stewart has four years to play three seasons, as he qualified academically coming out of high school, but didn't like his offer list and then he went to a junior college. The most likely scenario is that Stewart won't play much, if at all this year, but the reason he makes hid list is because Cody Davis an D.J. Johnson will both graduate after this year and there had better be someone on the horizon that can contributor for next year. I'm thinking that the staff wants both Stewart and Tre Porter to be ready to step into starting rolls next year. And if the answer isn't Stewart, the staff has already recruited to hybrid defensive backs, Darren Dotson and Stormy Butler as contingency plans. At the very least, I think the coaching staff is very much attempting to stay ahead of the game in the defensive backfield. A lot of staying ahead starts with Stewart being a player that this team can count on being a contributor this year and a significant contributor next year.

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