Texas Tech Football Position Preview | The Defensive Line

John Weast

Texas Tech lost four defensive linemen due to graduation and now they signed four JUCO players to replace them. Viva The Matadors has the pre-spring depth chart for Texas Tech's defensive line.

The Texas Tech Red Raiders start spring practice in March and we take a look at each position, including the eligibility remaining. Texas Tech lost main three players to graduation, Kerry Hyder, Dennell Wesley and Dartwan Bush, and little used Christopher Knighton, due to graduation. I waited and waited on doing this chart because as it filled out, it started looking better and better. If I had the inclination or the time, I'd have a "before NSD" and "after NSD" and without the JUCO players, and had it been before NSD, then this would have an incredibly thin depth chart. The addition of four significant JUCO players cannot be undersold.

There should be a couple of caveats before we get into these, and I'll remind you with each position, but I don't have a clue about the actual depth chart. It's a guess. And this is supposed to be fun, and distracting and make you think about other things than life. I had a tough time finding out whether or not the JUCO guys had a redshirt year available, so I've made the presumption that they do and can delete it. If anyone has that information, I'd appreciate it and if we need to move some folks around that's great too.

Depth Chart & Eligibility Remaining
Depth Player Year Ht/Wt. 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Defensive Tackle
1st Team Jackson Richards SR 6-5/275
2nd Team Demetrius Alston JR 6-3/260
3rd Team Keland McElrath JR 6-6/290
4th Team Donte Phillips JR 6-2/290
Nose Guard
1st Team Rika Levi JR 6-2/350
2nd Team Anthony Smith SO 5-10/325
3rd Team Marcus Smith JR 6-3/305
Defensive End
1st Team Branden Jackson JR 6-4/240
2nd Team Brandon Thorpe JR 6-5/275
3rd Team Gary Moore RS FR 6-5/220
4th Team Bennett Ofor SR 6-3/255

Defensive Tackle

I think that defensive tackle will be the one spot that is really up in the air and I think has the most room for movement. If Jackson wasn't at defensive end, I'd move Alston there, but if he was at 260 last year, I'm thinking that he might be bigger and big enough to play defensive tackle next year.

At the top, I think that Richards is at the top of the defensive tackle spot. I think that's a good place to start. As stated above, Alston, I think, moves to defensive tackle, but we'll see. I could see Alston and Thorpe switch spots, but we'll leave this here for now. McElrath should come in and be somewhere along the line and defensive tackle seems like the likely landing spot. Phillips could get pushed down the depth chart, but I remember watching him in the spring and liked his motor.

Nose Guard

The addition of Levi and M. Smith make this an actual position race, where as when I first did this, there was no depth. It was just A. Smith. For me, Levi jumps to the front of the line and until A. Smith pushes his way up the depth chart, I'll keep it that way. M. Smith was the least recruited of the JUCO players and I think this is the path of least resistance for him to get playing time.

Defensive End

I think I saw a tweet from Jackson over the Christmas break, but I could have sworn that they want him to get to the 270 pound range. If that's even close, then you can see how Wallerstedt and everyone wants for the line to be bigger, maybe 20 to 25 pounds bigger across the board. So it makes sense that Thorpe is second in line to Jackson, with Moore bringing up behind as he's going to have to add significantly more weight to get to where I think Jackson will be and where Thorpe already is.

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