With the start of the season right around the corner, I'm excited about a number of things heading into the season and I oftentimes think about what I'm most excited to see this year. These are the things I'm excited to see this year and absolutely will love to see what you're excited to see. The topics that I'll cover are the offense in general, the defense in general, the special teams, the newcomers and the veterans.
Johnson Will See Snaps
There's a reason I wanted to highlight redshirt freshmen. You tend to forget that they're even on the roster, mostly because they're not in the news and they're usually not on the depth chart. But I've thought that CB Urell Johnson is the type of player that I tend to forget about for this very reason. And it would make even more sense with Johnson in that he was injured almost all of his senior year and I don't think he played at all his senior year. Despite that, he was still one of the top 50 defensive backs in the country. At the time when Johnson committed, I don't think that I could find any film on Johnson and while looking, I did find some YouTubery from when Johnson was a junior and even some from being a sophomore (I think). Johnson isn't a big corner (5-11/166) but I think that the corners will be asked to keep the play in front of them and I can envision a situation where Tre Porter and Derrick Mayes are your starters, while guys like Johnson, Eugene Neboh, Jeremy Reynolds, and Jarvis Phillips all help fill in the gaps.
Richards In The Rotation
I have no doubt that Jackson Richards will be in the rotation at defensive end. Much like Johnson, Richards may be part of a rotatin and may take a step back from guys like Leon Mackey and Scott Smith when he becomes eligible. When Jackson comitted he was one of the more highly rated players of the class, a 4-star recruit from Southlake Carroll that simply dominated in high school. During Jackson's redshirt season, I'm sure it was a bit nerve-wrecking as Texas Tech was moving to a 3-4 defense and a player like Richards, who would have to put on some serious weight to play a 3-4 defensive end, maybe 15 more pounds. But now that Chad Glasgow has switched back to the 4-2-5 and a more traditional defensive end, this seems to make a lot more sense for Richards. And the thing about Richards was that he was a playmaker in high school. He was the 23rd best defensive end in the nation and the 45 best player in the state. You don't receive those sort of accolades without being a guy that makes plays.
More after the jump.
Corker Is Not Forgotten
One of the out-of-state guys, Florida, in that it doesn't usually make much sense for a kid from Florida committing to Texas Tech, however, Corker's high school coach was Matt DuBuc, a former Red Raider, and I also think that Corker's commitment was part of the Crabtree-Effect. The transition from high school to college receiver and the transition from college to NFL are one of the toughest transitions in sports. It takes time. Corker didn't make a huge impact during the spring game, just a couple of catches, but don't give up on him. Like Eric Ward, another guy that we're all saying needs to step up this year, it's tough being patient and tough following a player, but there is talent at receiver and Corker and Ward are two guys that are the type of players that I think will start to make a name for themselves sooner rather than later.
Now it's your turn. Tell me what you're excited to see from the redshirt freshmen this year. For reference purposes, these are the redshirt freshmen (at least these are the ones that I found): Urell Johnson, Beau Carpenter, Scotty Young, Russell Polk, Shawn Corker, Jackson Richards, Alex Chester, Kramer Fyfe, and Matt Scott.