In this installment of the state's best position groups by the Dallas Morning News bloggers, they rank the defensive lines. We will track these rankings and give you our thoughts on Tech's ranking in each group. We might throw in a few other thoughts that are non-Tech related.
Here are their rankings:
2t) Texas A&M
5) TEXAS TECH
8) Texas State
9) North Texas
Here's what DMN blogger Tommy Magelssen had to say about Tech's DL position:
"The Red Raiders will run a base four-man front under new defensive coordinator David Gibbs, already showing a new look with top pass-rusher Pete Robertson (pictured) moving from outside linebacker to end. Senior Branden Jackson offers further experience on the other side, but success on the line might be dictated by the play of several second-year junior college players. Texas Tech had one of the nation's worst rush defenses last season, so seniors defensive tackles Rika Levi, Keland McElrath and Demetrius Alston will need to provide a more formidable push in the middle. The addition of weight-room wunderkind Breiden Fehoko will add depth, as will the conversion of offensive tackle Josh Outlaw. How well Texas Tech can't slow down the run and pressure the quarterback may dictate whether the Red Raiders get to a bowl this season."
I think Tommy is right about the JUCO guys determining this unit's success. If Levi, McElrath and Alston can anchor the middle of that line, the entire defense will improve. I think the other big factor is depth at the DE positions. Jackson and Robertson are proven commodities that will provide much of the same as they did in 2014, which is a good thing. I think the key for those two guys will be having depth behind them so they play fewer plays this season. Coach Kingsbury mentioned several times that these two guys were playing too many plays last season. This was noticeable late in games and when we played physical teams like Texas and Arkansas. Right now Kris Williams is listed behind Robertson. He is unproven at this point. Andre Ross will provide depth at this position as well, assuming he is healthy. Ross has flashed some real ability when he has been able to stay on the field. Gary Moore is listed behind Jackson. Putting on weight has been Moore's issue. At 6'5, 224 pounds, he isn't the ideal weight for a defensive end.
1) Baylor and TCU continue to be #1 and #2 in just about every category. It's a tough pill for us Red Raiders to swallow.
2) Daylon Mack will be a force for the Aggies for the next three years. He was the most impressive player I saw at the High School Under Armor game last year. He may not have the immediate impact that SEC Freshman of the Year Myles Garrett had for the Aggies last year but I wouldn't be shocked if he did.
3) First year Head Coach Chad Morris has his work cut out for him at SMU. He isn't returning too much either side of the ball. I am very interested to see what he can do there.
The next DMN position group ranking will be linebackers released on Friday. With Robertson now technically a defensive lineman, we return zero starters and probably won't be thought of too highly in the rankings.