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Red Raider Gridiron | Texas Tech's Top Five Offensive Playmakers

The top five playmakers for Kliff Kingsbury and the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Michael C. Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

I decided to exclude the quarterback, no matter who it is, because that would be too easy. Let's party.

1. WR Eric Ward: This was pretty easy, right? I don't think you'll find a lot of argument about who the best player on the team is, and at least for me, it is Ward. Ward is my reminder to all of those folks that are quick to write off a particular player for one reason or another. In Ward's redshirt freshman year, he played in 11 games, but only had 6 catches for 63 yards. In his sophomore year, he had 84 catches for 800 yards and 11 touchdowns, while as a junior, he stretched the field, catching 82 for 1,053 yards and 12 touchdowns. Hands-down, Ward is this team's best playmaker and I think he's going to have a monster year and I could envision Ward getting 95 catches for 1,200 yards and 16 touchdowns.

2. TE Jace Amaro: This one is based off of potential more than anything else. In only 7 games last year, Amaro was third on the team in receiving yards with 409, and fifth with 25 receptions. Why is he going to be an awesome playmaker? Because he led the team with an average of 16.67 yards per catch. This is from your 6-5/257 tight end that will be able to turn Big 12 defenses on their heels if Amaro can do two things. Keep his head right with ball, which means no personal fouls on the field and keeping his rear out of trouble off the field, and focus on each and every play. There is no one on this team with more potential and if he plays every game this next year and he just does what he does, he's going to be near unstoppable. The only reason he didn't beat out Ward is because Ward is a warrior, who does it game after game. Amaro, take note.

3. IR Jakeem Grant: Another one sort of based off of potential, but I think we all liked what we saw against Minnesota, where he didn't have a single catch. As a redshirt freshman, Grant caught 32 passes for 284 yards and 3 touchdowns. He only had 6 kickoff returns, but when he did touch the ball, he averaged 39 yards a return, including 2 touchdowns. Grant can affect the game in so many different ways, and with grant playing behind Tyson Williams, who was a better player last year, I think that it's safe to say that he'll have a significantly bigger impact this year, as both a receiver and as a kickoff returner, where I think he'll be full-time there, along with Sadale Foster. Get both of those guys some touches.

4. RB DeAndre Washington: This one is a bit out of left field, and maybe again on potential as Washington sat out all of last year with a torn ACL. I think Washington is going to be back and in a big way. As a true freshman, Washington carried the ball 77 times for 366 yards and 3 touchdowns. I think that both Washington has the ability to affect the game in a different way than running mate Kenny Williams. Williams will be solid, if not spectacular, but Washington has the chance to be a game-breaker, and if given enough space, I think he's going to make people miss and I think at some point during the season, teams aren't going to know who to cover. Washington didn't see that much time during the spring, but the reason I think that's the case is that Kingsbury really didn't think it was necessary to show all of his cards.

5. WR Bradley Marquez: Another guy that I'm basing off of potential, but I think it is with good reason. Marquez only makes it through six games last year, catching only 16 passes for 16 passes for 172 yards. With Darrin Moore graduating, who grabbed 92 passes last year, there is going to be significant opportunity for Marquez to make a name for himself. He hardly played in the spring, like Washington, but I think it is because Kingsbury knows that he has in Marquez. Marquez can be a special player, and he was behind Moore for the last two years, the first because he was a true freshman, the second because of injury and seniority. This year, the path is there for Marquez to be the player that I think he can be.