If you are like 90% of Red Raider fans, you don’t attend or watch the games to see how well the defense plays, how many field goals or incredible punts Tech has, or to watch the coaches make in-game adjustments. Well, maybe there is a fair amount of the female Red Raider fans that keep up with how Kliff Kingsbury is looking week to week… But, I digress. The majority of Tech football fans tune in each and every week to see how many points and yards the Air Raid can put up. This week, I will begin to preview the offense, starting with the big fellas upfront.
Experience. From last year’s starting unit, only one, right tackle Reshod Fortenberry, is not returning. With the starting quarterback situation still in flux, it has to be of some comfort to the coaches, and starting QB contenders Davis Webb and Patrick Mahomes, that the young men protecting the quarterback are college football veterans. As for that vacant RT position, Justin Murphy took the majority of the first team snaps in the spring game over Poet Thomas. Both players have had at least one season in Lubbock to learn Tech’s blocking schemes. Murphy was redshirted last season and Thomas redshirted in 2013 and appeared in the Baylor game last year.
Defensive coordinator, David Gibbs, released a pre-spring game depth chart. The offensive depth chart has yet to be released. However, I will predict what the opening day offensive line will look like.
Left Tackle: SR Le’Raven Clark
Left Guard: SR Alfredo Morales
Center: SR Jared Kaster
Right Guard: JR Baylen Brown
Right Tackle: RS FR Justin Murphy, or SO Poet Thomas
The 2015 signing day yielded a pretty nice crop for the Red Raiders led by 4-star recruits Madison Akamnonu of Arlington, TX and Conner Dyer of Mesquite, TX. Tech brought in 3-star recruits Trace Ellison of Frisco, TX and Terrance Steele of Cibolo, TX. The Red Raiders recruited a 3-time high school football state champion, Cody Wheeler from Allen, TX. Wheeler is a 2-star recruit. This is an awesome offensive line recruit class! The future continues to be bright for the big boys up front.
Also remember that Tech added two more offensive lineman after signing day who could have a quicker impact than those mentioned above, Paul Stawarz and Emeka Okafor. Stawarz is a JUCO transfer with three years of eligibility left. Okafor is a transfer from the University of Houston. He will be a senior in 2015.
Since Mike Leach brought the Air Raid to Texas Tech, the offensive line has consistently been a well-recruited and top-notch crew. 2015 will be no different. The 2015 offensive line recruiting class is a solid one, and I anticipate that the line that will take the field this season will be a solid one as well. Last season’s crew paved the way for DeAndre Washington to rush for over 1,000 yards. That was the first time the Red Raiders have had a runner go over the 1,000-yard mark since 1998. This crew has the potential to repeat last year’s success.
What are your thoughts on this year’s offensive line? Do you think that the 2015 offensive line can continue the tradition of solid offensive lines at Texas Tech? Either comment below or tweet me @ConnerCrisp. Thank you for reading and GUNS UP!