The defensive back group that the Red Raiders will have in 2016 will be one that . However, like the linebacker core, losing your best player out of this group always hurts. Nigel Bethel II is transferring, and like I said about Dakota Allen, we need to move on. There is no good in dwelling on losing those two.
This is what the spring depth chart looks like for the DB’s:
CB: Justis Nelson, Paul Banks III
FS: Jah’Shawn Johnson, Tevin Madison
SS: Keenon Ward, Payton Hendrix
CB: Thierry Nguema, DJ Polite-Bray
A great thing to love about this group is the experience shared between them. I believe that experience is one of the most important possessions to have amongst a position group in college football, especially on defense in an era where offense is much more praised and emphasized. The four starters on defense have a combined 112 games played in a Texas Tech uniform between them.
With Bethel gone, its safe to say Jah’Shawn Johnson is the best player amongst this group. This guy has a real knack for getting the football.
In the words of the great Kirk Herbstreit, "Big time players make big plays in big games." That was a big time play against one of the best running backs in the SEC. Johnson led the Big 12 in fumbles recovered and was second overall in the NCAA. It’s exciting stuff to have Johnson in the Tech secondary for the next few seasons.
I like the way that David Gibbs progressed this group from 2014 to 2015. Gibbs stressed amongst this group to go after the football and get turnovers, which is exactly what they did. The defense in total had just 6 interceptions and 9 fumble recoveries in 2014, and those numbers jumped to 15 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries in 2015.
Thanks to ESPN for the clip.