The elephant in the room for the Red Raiders is the defense which ranked second to last in total defense. It gave up an astonishing 547.7 yard per game, and to add insult to injury, the team ranked behind Texas Tech in total defense was Kansas. It can be said a thousand times how important it will be for Texas Tech’s defense to improve upon last season’s outing, but that’s a generic suggestion. In order to understand how the defense should improve this year, it’s important to understand the players returning. This defense will be young, but it’s the handful of talented sophomores that are returning that will be an essential cog to the defensive machine. D’Vonta Hinton is one of those talented sophomores, and his case for a breakout season was his quiet but productive first year as a Red Raider.
Besides Breiden Fehoko, Hinton was the only other true freshman to play defense in the 2015 season. His season was quiet for the fact that he had limited minutes in the first half of the season, but in those limited minutes, Hinton produced. His first career tackle was against UTEP, and then he recorded two more in that game. He also recorded tackles against Arkansas, several against Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Kansas State, and Texas. He had five starts spanning the season. His play-making ability is yet to be determined, but with him recording tackles in almost every game, there isn’t much room for doubt. D’Vonta Hinton will only improve as this upcoming season begins.
It’s important to note his ability to create turnovers. He forced a fumble against West Virginia, he had a couple of sacks at Texas, and the most important component of his talent is his ability to hurry a quarterback. Hinton has speed on him and this will help him when it comes to force interceptions. He may become an effective pass-rusher when facing better quarterbacks. From what he’s brought to the table, it seems that Hinton has the abilities to become a constant defensive presence for opposing teams.
It’ll be interesting to see D’Vonta Hinton mature as the season progresses. The best hope is that not only does he mirror his first season, but improve upon it. To be clear, by no means does it mean D’Vonta Hinton will be Texas Tech’s answer to improving a mediocre defense. There are so many X-factors that must be calculated to determine the success of the defense, but with players like Hinton, Texas Tech’s defense can only see improvement with the help of underclassman that are ready to compete.