This is DTN's annual review of players, position-by-position, to take a look at the players that I think will be gone (graduating seniors or players possibly leaving the program), guys I know something about (these are players I've heard), guys I know nothing about (these are players that are on the roster who I have no idea who they are) and guys I think are on the way (commits to the program).
GUYS I THINK WILL BE GONE
|19||Lyle Leong||SR||6-1/175||Wide Receiver|
|83||Blake Kelley||SR||5-10/188||Inside Receiver|
|17||Detron Lewis||SR||6-0/208||Inside Receiver|
|48||Ryan Haliburton||SO||6-4/251||Tight End|
|13||E.J. Celestie||RS FR||5-11/174||Wide Receiver|
It will be incredibly difficult to replace the production of Leong and Lewis. Not impossible, but difficult. Leong's 19 touchdowns is nothing short of remarkable and Lewis' move to inside receiver in the middle of the season proved to be a boost for the offense in terms of consistency and production. And I think there's talent at the receiver position, which is why I say that it's not impossible to replace what Leong and Lewis did, but right now it's unproven talent. Scoring touchdowns is a gift and Leong's ability to go up and grab the football is something that's tough to replicate and will more likely be done by committee rather than just one person picking up the slack. I thought Lewis improved significantly over the course of his senior year, but the bad part was that it seemed like it took too long for it to click for Lewis. I think he'll be missed, but I also think there are players that can pick up the slack for what Lewis did for the team last year.
Haliburton is essentially retiring and I believe he's moving on to join a service academy (I think). Celestie I believe has transferred, but I'm not sure where. He's still listed on the official roster at Texas Tech, but for some reason I think I've read something about Celestie moving on to another college for lack of playing time. Kelley was an inside receiver, although I'm not sure he was ever on scholarship, who has graduated.
GUYS I KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT
|8||Jacoby Franks||JR||6-0/195||Wide Receiver|
|87||Aaron Fisher||RS FR||6-2/186||Wide Receiver|
|18||Eric Ward||RS FR||6-0/202||Wide Receiver|
|14||Darrin Moore||SO||6-4/210||Wide Receiver|
|86||Alexander Torres||SO||6-1/199||Wide Receiver|
|88||Shawn Corker||FR||6-1/191||Wide Reciever|
|82||Adam James||JR||6-3/233||Inside Receiver|
|11||Tramain Swindall||JR||6-3/184||Inside Receiver|
|2||Cornelius Douglas||SO||5-10/200||Inside Receiver|
|6||Austin Zouzalik||SO||5-11/191||Inside Receiver|
|Tyson Williams||SR||6-0/205||Wide Receiver|
Your leading returning receivers are Torres, Zouzalik, Swindall, Franks and Douglas. That's not a bad group to help lead the offense. It's not perfect, but it's pretty good and the difference between being an all-conference player and just a guy that contributes every once in a while is consistency. Every one of these guys, whether it be due to their own doing or injury, have to improve the consistency part of their game. The one advantage to other years is that Texas Tech returns a guy, Torres, that the team and players know is capable of leading this team in receptions (see 2009).
And I'm pretty comfortable writing that I think that Zouzalik, Swindall, Franks and Douglas are talented players. They're all capable of making a significant impact on the game (maybe except for Douglas, but watching what he did against Northwestern makes me think that he's capable), but they're also fully capable of having zero impact on the game. Zouzalik had 1 catch for 3 yards against TAMU, but had 5 catches for 50 yards against Northwestern. Torres had 0 catches for 0 yards (I believe he did play) against Houston, but had 6 catches for 133 yards against Colorado. Tramain Swindall had 0 catches and 0 yards against Texas, but had 4 catches for 58 yards against Houston. You get the point.
The nice thing is that it's not just going to be the guys mentioned above. A guy like Moore could be an excellent option. Moore and the below-mentioned Kennard are really the only receivers on the team with any significant height. I also really like the way that Fisher came on strong at the end of the year. He's got good size, he's willing to play special teams, which makes me think he's a team player, and seeing Fisher step into a role after two years is about right as far as I'm concerned. I think the staff did a good job of dangling that carrot in front of Fisher to get him motivated for this year. And the same could be said for Ward. All of the talent in the world, and I still think that talent is there and I'm not at al discouraged about Ward's progress. Just like the NFL, I think it takes time to figure it out and how to make an impact.
More after the jump.
That's also gives me some hope about Corker. If we don't see him at all this year I won't be disappointed. It takes time to figure it out and there are some talented players in front of Corker. I think the key is to handle it a lot like they handled Ward and Fisher in that if you give Corker something to play for and he's a competitor, then that's all the motivation he'll probably need.
I'm not going to talk much about Williams except for the fact that he's listed as a senior, but he's sitting out this year and will only have 2012 to be eligible. Williams won't be able to play in 2011.
|89||Tony Trahan||SO||6-5/225||Tight End|
Trahan originally walked-on to play for Rutgers, is originally from Coppell, and decided to transfer back closer to home. If I were a betting man, I'd say that Trahan is your blocking tight end and will be a viable option, along with Amaro. Even when Trahan walked-on at Rutgers, he knew that he needed to add weight and I'd bet that this is exactly what he did as he sat out a year to transfer (the photo identifying Trahan, I don't think is Trahan):
Actually, Trahan has gained weight already -- and some valuable traveling experience.
"I reported on June 28 (thinking) I was 220 or so," he said. "Then my flight got delayed and my credit card didn't work, so I went the whole day without eating. I got in at 1 a.m. and didn't eat for 24 hours.
"So I was 216 (when he weighed in). That was pretty embarrassing -- just a shock when I stepped on that scale."
Trahan, back at 225 pounds, says the plan is to add more weight. He'd like to play this season at 230-plus and envisions a day where he will be between 245 and 255. Looking at him now in a football uniform, he most resembles an exclamation point.
"I'm not going against high school guys anymore," he said. "I need to get a lot bigger. I already can tell that after five days of practice."
One of the first players Brown mentioned was tight end Tony Trahan, a transfer from Rutgers who has impressed all year. Second-semester freshman Beau Carpenter seemed like a shoo-in to be in the offensive line rotation until he needed an appendectomy in late August.
"I’m glad we got to redshirt him," Brown said. "It’s kind of been a blessing that he got sick, because we probably wouldn’t have. We’ve got all five (offensive line starters) coming back, but they better not rest on their laurels, because he’s talented enough to take one of their spots."
GUYS I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT
|28||Brent Mitcham||FR||5-9/171||Wide Receiver|
|22||Trey Ozee||FR||6-0/184||Wide Receiver|
|80||Ty Taylor||FR||6-0/194||Wide Receiver|
|27||Kevin Thornton||FR||6-1/185||Wide Receiver|
This is where we're going to learn a little something about the players on the roster who you may not have heard of. Rather than doing much homework, I'm going to link to their Texas Tech profile page and let each of you dig around.
Up first is Mitcham:
Brent Mitcham ... born June 11, 1991 in Houston, Texas ... son of Keith and Karen Mitcham ... has two sisters, Rachel and Kristen ... enjoys hunting and fishing.
Trey Ozee... born October 18, 1990, in Amarillo, Texas... son of Kenny and Debbie Ozee... has a younger brother, Chase... enjoys fishing and hunting... majoring in business.
GUYS I THINK ARE ON THE WAY
|Derek Edwards||FR||6-1/163||Wide Receiver|
|Marcus Kennard||JR||6-4/205||Wide Receiver|
|Jace Amaro||FR||6-5/237||Tight End|
|Jakeem Grant||FR||5-7/157||Wide Receiver|
This position, and maybe along with defensive tackle, has the potential to be the biggest impact position. I think that Kennard and Amaro come in and play immediately. Kennard plays because I think he's a highly rated JUCO player that knows what he needs to do to have an early impact. With Amaro, there's not a player on this team that's even remotely similar to what Amaro can do on the football field. You just don't see players Amaro's size with his type of speed. It's not normal. And I mean that in the best possible way. And Kennard adds some serious size to the receiver position, one that's relatively lacking, and having some size on the outside can only help.
Just like Ward, Fisher and Corker I'm perfectly fine letting Edwards and Grant redshirt. Edwards has been compared to Leong by a number of folks, including me, and I still think that's a pretty accurate comparison. With Grant, the closest comparison would be Ben McRoy. If Grant were 2 inches taller, he might have offers from quite a few more universities. And if you look at his receiving yards, he went from a guy that just had 34 catches for 470 yards his junior year to more than doubling that effort, with 79 catches for 1,306 yards and 13 TD's his senior year. He just wasn't on a lot of folks radars until later in his senior year. Still want to see the footrace between Grant and McRoy.
|Jacoby Franks||Darrin Moore||Aaron Fisher||Shawn Corker|
|Adam James||Alexander Torres||Eric Ward||Nick Cheesman|
|Tramain Swindall||Cornelius Douglas||Brett Hume|
|Austin Zouzalik||Brent Mitcham|
|Tyson Williams||Trey Ozee|
|Desmond Haynes||Ty Taylor|
|Marcus Kennard||Kevin Thornton|
|Tony Trahan||Jace Amaro|