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Texas Tech Saturday Morning Football Notes - Big Sleeper Edition

Texas Tech Football:

ESPN's Mark Schlabach updates his Top 25, and your Red Raiders check in at #11:

The Red Raiders bring back record-setting quarterback Graham Harrell and receiver Michael Crabtree, but coach Mike Leach is most excited about his team's improved defense. Texas Tech is deeper and bigger up front on defense and the addition of a few key juco transfers makes it a big sleeper in the Big 12.

Here are a couple of pretty cool recruiting maps: 2008 Big 12 Recruiting (South) and 2009 Big 12 Recruiting (hat-tip to DTN reader Keith).'s Gene Menez thinks that Mr. Crabtree is the 5th best candidate to take the Heisman Trophy this year (hat-tip to DTN reader djollie111):

Expectations are higher than ever in Lubbock, in part because of this receiving terror. A nightmare in the open field because of the way he attacks the defense with his cutback ability and separation speed, Crabtree came out of nowhere in '07 and was miles ahead of the nation's second-best receiver. He should only get better in '08. But who makes Texas Tech's offense go, Crabtree or Harrell? (I believe Harrell's the catalyst, but Crabtree's the better player.) And will that matter to voters?

Personally, I don't think that Mr. Crabtree will duplicate his 2007 season, just because it was that unbelievable. If he does duplicate it, then he should be at the top of the list. His numbers are so much more ridiculous that his competitors and he's reliant on his quarterback to make sure he gets the ball rather than being able to create on his own, which he does when he does get the ball.'s Stewie Mandell also has his updated Top 25 with your Red Raiders checking in at #8 (hat-tip to DTN reader djollie111):

Returning starters: 18 (Offense: 10 Defense: 8).

Key returnees: QB Graham Harrell, WR Michael Crabtree, G Louis Vasquez, DE Brandon Williams, CB Jamar Wall.

Spring star: DE McKinner Dixon. The return of this 2005 Freshman All-America, who played last season in junior college, gives Tech's pass rush a boost.

Spring recap: The fact that Tech's defense shut down Harrell, Crabtree and Co. in the spring game is a good sign for the Raiders. Dixon and Miami transfer Chris Perry were nice adds to an impressive D-line. Mike Leach is still seeking a new kicker.'s Nick Eatman is asking all of us to tap the breaks a bit with the Danny Amendola love (hat-tip Blogging The Boys):

Sure, he caught a lot of passes last year in a gimmick offense. Lots of Texas Tech receivers have caught a lot of passes over the years. And only Wes Welker, especially once he joined forces with the best offense in the NFL, has productive in the NFL. So just because Amendola went to the same school, looks the same and has a similar build, it doesn't mean he's Wes Welker.

And please don't mistake this for me "hating on" Amendola. That's not the case at all. He might turn out to be a good player, one who could legitimately make this roster.

But the chances of him making the team were very long when he signed AFTER the draft. And I'm sorry but there's nothing you can do in shorts and a helmet, especially against nothing but rookies, where that should change.

He's still a long shot. Now, do all of that consistently against Terence Newman, Anthony Henry and Pacman Jones. And show off that punt return ability from college, and also be willing to run down on punts and kickoffs and throw your body around there. If that happens, now you might have a spot for this guy.

Until then, he's still fighting an uphill battle.

As excited that I am that Amendola is with the Cowboys, I think ultimately he's going to be on the practice squad by the time camp concludes. I do think that it's better for everyone involved to remember that Amendola isn't Welker, and I think Amendola is handling as best he possibly can. There's 2 ways to look at this, the Cowboys are pretty well set at receiver and if he's going to beat anyone, he's going to have to beat Miles Austin or Sam Hurd. Eatman correctly points out that Amendola has to do more than just catch passes, he's got to show that he's versatile, that he can run down the field with wreckless abandon on punt and kickoff returns. There's only 53 spots and the more versatile Amendola is, then the greater the chance that Amendola gets a shot to catch a few passes from Romo.

There's also some updated video on Amendola at the DMN and Amendola on the Welker comparisons (hat-tip to DTN Reader Keith).