During spring practice, head coach Tommy Tuberville stated that he wanted to find 25 players on defense that he thought could play. With the season just around the corner, it's time to speculate who those 25 players might be (for offense and defense) and how they might fit into the grand scheme of things. This is not a top 25 list and the players are not listed in any particular order other than they're the top 25 players who I think will make an impact on each side of the ball. We'll alternate between offense and defense.
Defense: 25-21 (S Cody Davis; OLB Julius Howard; OLB/DE Aundrey Barr; DT Donald Langley; ILB Tyrone Sonier) | 20-16 (CB D.J. Johnson; DE/DT Scott Smith; SS Brett Dewhurst; ILB Brandon Mahoney; CB Tre'Vante Porter) | 15-11 | 10-6 | 5-1
Offense: 25-21 (IR Cornelius Douglas; TE Bo Whitney; RG Deveric Gallington; QB Steven Sheffield; C Justin Keown) | 20-16 (OL Beau Carpenter; RB Harrison Jeffers; IR Austin Zouzalik; OL Chris Olson; WR Lyle Leong) | 15-11 (WR Derrick Mays; LT Mickey Okafor; QB Taylor Potts; WR Alexander Torres; RB Eric Stephens) | 10-6 | 5-1
#15 | Colby Whitlock | 6-2/287 | SR | NT
Rationale: This is actually pretty easy. Whitlock seems as if he's been around forever and he's finally a senior, he's put on 15 to 20 pounds and I'm hoping that Whitlock can perhaps be a bit more of a force inside. Whitlock had 46 tackles last year, was second on the team with 8.5 TFL and am hoping that Whitlock can increase that figure to double-digits this year and my hopes that the defense will be a little bit more unpredictable will help Whitlock. Whitlock must understand that he has to be the rock to the defensive line and he's going to be counted on to make a significant impact and bring stability to a line that is replacing the other defensive tackle and two defensive ends.
#14 | Sam Fehoko | 5-11/220 | JR | ILB
Rationale: Fehoko has really grown into a pretty good linebacker. When Fehoko arrived in Lubbock, he had absolutely zero responsibility in high school other than rushing the passer. I get the feeling that Ruffin McNeill took Fehoko under his wing and really tried to teach him the nuance of playing linebacker, which includes having run-stopping responsibility in addition to getting to the quarterback. It will be interesting to see how well Fehoko plays this year, given the inside linebacker spot next to Bront Bird and I think like a lot of you, I have high hopes for Fehoko and think that by the time he's a senior, he'll be one of the better linebackers in the conference.
13 through 11 after the jump.
#13 | Jarvis Phillips | 6-0 | RS FR | CB
Rationale: Looking at the depth chart right now, Phillips is your starting cornerback. The coaching staff really likes Philips, saying that they are trying to fast-track Phillips' training during the spring the with the hopes that he can be a starter and last year's starter, LaRon Moore, could be a jack-of-all-trades sort of player. And for those of you keeping score, Phillips was a quarterback and receiver in high school and he's learning a new position on the fly. The prior staff saw something in Phillips, who they thought might not be able to play quarterback as a Division I prospect, but they knew he had something to offer the team. I don't think that anyone thought that Phillips would be in the position he's in, this soon.
#12 | Myles Wade | 6-2/340 | JR | DT
Rationale: Wade is one of those players that I secretly cheer for and hope he finds success. To recap Wade's story, he originally committed to Oregon, his mother got sick of and eventually died of cancer, Wade went to a JUCO and then committed to Texas Tech with three years to play. Wade didn't accomplish much last year, playing in only 4 games the entire year, but he had some talented players in front of him. There's no denying Wade's athletic potential. He weighed in last year at 340 pounds, but this wasn't your typical 340 pounds as he's built like a brick-sh!t house. The official depth chart has Wade at defensive tackle, but he's also played defensive end some this past spring. Other than Whitlock, I think you'll see the entire defensive line flip and flop and switch positions all game long (as a reminder to everyone, Tuberville said that the defense is going to be one gap defensive responsibility).
#11 | Terrance Bullitt | 6-3/182 | RS FR | FS
Rationale: Perhaps Bullitt's biggest contribution thus far was that he absolutely leveled Cornelius Douglas during the spring game. It was a relatively minor play and he was flagged for hitting Douglas in the head, but perhaps this was a signal to his coaches that Bullitt is willing to hit someone and ready for a bit of action. Bullitt mainly looks like a safety and hopefully he's added a bit of weight since his freshman year without sacrificing his speed. The interesting thing that we're going to watch during this spring is whether or not Bullitt will be able to supplant either Davis or Mitchem at one of the safety spots. Bullitt has the genes to play football at the Division I level (his brother and father played at TAMU).
Thoughts, comments, agreements and disagreements are welcome.