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DMN Ranks The State's Best Secondaries

The Dallas Morning News continues their countdown of the best position groups. Today, they rank the secondaries.

Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

In this installment of the state's best position groups by the Dallas Morning News bloggers, they rank the secondaries. 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:

1)   TCU

2)   Texas

3)   Baylor

4)   TEXAS TECH

5)   Houston

6)   Texas A&M

7t)   Texas State

7t)   Rice

9)   SMU

10) North Texas

11) UTEP

12) UTSA

Here's what DMN blogger Tommy Magelssen had to say about Tech's secondary:

The Red Raiders return all their entire starting secondary from 2014 as well as some key backups. The addition of new defensive coordinator David Gibbs, who has experience on the NFL level as a secondary coach, should benefit this group more than any other in Texas Tech's beleaguered defense. Safeties Keenon Ward (Jr.) and J.J. Gaines (Sr.) have the experience to lead the unit, while ever-improving cornerbacks Justis Nelson (Jr.) and Nigel Bethel (So.) earned valuable experience in 2014 -- Sophomore Tevin Madison also will push for playing time and provides experienced depth. Texas Tech had trouble defending the long ball last year, which remains one of the team's biggest problems. If Gibbs can help the team avoid those one-on-one matchups too often, this could be one of the Big 12's most improved pass defenses.

Tech Thoughts:

The lone bright spot of 2014 for me was that the entire secondary would be returning in 2015. So here we are in 2015 and I expect much better play out of these guys due to experience and Gibbs being the new defensive coordinator. At cornerback, Bethel looked like a future lock down corner by the end of the season. Nelson didn't quite develop into the player I thought he would be last season after a strong ending to his freshman but with another year of experience he should be improved. Behind those two, you have Tevin Madison who played well last season as a true freshman even though he is a bit undersized. DJ Polite-Bray looked solid in the spring game after transitioning to the secondary from wide receiver midway through last season.  Word is that true freshman Jamile Johnson will be good enough to come in and compete for playing time immediately. At safety, Ward was a good player last season when he was healthy. Gaines is the question mark. I am not sure he is the answer at the other safety spot. Jalen Barnes could be but he has a knee issue that may or may not let him be a long-term answer at safety. Payton Hendrix and Derrick Dixon are a couple of other young guys who could possibly step up. Another piece of good news is that the spring depth chart listed only one senior (Gaines) in the two-deep, meaning this position group could be a team strength going into 2016.

Miscellaneous Thoughts:

1) I am surprised to see the Aggies as low as they are. With all these amazing recruiting classes that Sumlin is bringing in, you would figure they would be ranked higher.

2) I thought Houston would be ranked higher than us. With the number of turnovers they created last season and all of their starters returning including a couple of all-conference players, I couldn't have argued with them being ranked ahead of us.

3) I feel like Baylor is similar to Tech in the fact their secondary struggled last year but return everyone. I would actually give the nod to Tech's secondary being better because Baylor's secondary  had a much better front seven supporting them.

The next DMN position group ranking will be special teams released on Wednesday.