Let's talk 2015 breakout players for the Red Raiders. I picked one offensive and one defensive player. These guys may be household names to some Red Raider fans, but not all. I think these guys have the potential to earn All-Big 12 honors in 2015. While I know we have touched on this subject in a podcast earlier this summer, I thought since we were less than two weeks away it was revisiting.
From part-time LB to All-Big 12: I have been preaching Micah Awe's praises since the spring. He has the potential to be an All-Big 12 player. He was third on the team in tackles last season while only starting four games. He can make a hit, is good at sifting through the offensive line to get to the ballcarrier and can get out to coverage. All of those traits will help him be successful, but the defensive line should be improved helping free him up to make plays as well, which is what we would love to see.
Past player comparison: Will Smith - Awe is a few inches shorter than Smith, but they play the same way to me. If we could get a Will Smith senior season type of season out of Awe, I would be satisfied. Smith finished the 2013 season as a member of the AP All Big-12 1st team with 120 tackles on the season. He also had 10.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacker and a fumble return for a touchdown.
No sophomore slump: Ian Sadler is next on my list. Watching some highlight films from last season recently, I was struck me by how well he played towards the end of the season and how fast he is. He will be starting at insider receiver opposite Jakeem Grant. He will also be working beside Tech's best deep threat in Devin Lauderdale so there should be plenty of room for him to make plays once he has the ball in his hands. I was one of those who expected big things from Sadler immediately after arriving on campus based on what I saw of him in high school, but he struggled to figure things out early in the season as most freshman do. He played sparingly until November when he it all came together for him and he put up nice numbers the last month of the season.
Past player comparison: Danny Amendola- They are similar in size, play the same position, played their true freshman season and had decent stats their first season. Amendola excelled as a punt returner his freshman year which is the biggest difference in the two players' freshman seasons but Sadler had twice as many receiving yards as Amendola (336 yards vs 119 yards).
Game week is here in one week....The wait is almost over!