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Defensive player(s) of the year: Two players persevere while playing through their last chance

Couldn’t just give the honor to one, as both Dakota Allen and Justus Parker have been huge for this defense.

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Kansas Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Stop me if you’ve hear this story before. Player A is a top ranked recruit, goes on to play forTexas Tech and has an incredible freshman year just to get in trouble in the offseason and get kicked off the team. Afterwards, he goes to play at East Mississippi Community College, and earns his scholarship back to Tech.

What about this one? Player B doesn’t get any Division 1 scholarships and goes on to sign with Division 3 Texas Lutheran. At TLU, he goes on to play tremendously and decides to leave the school and walk on at Texas Tech to prove he can play with the big boys.

Both Player A (Dakota Allen) and Player B (Justus Parker) had unconventional ways to get to this point but both had one last chance to prove they belonged and they did more than prove, they dominated.

Allen finished the year with 92 tackles, 12 for loss, and six turnovers forced. Allen’s best game came against Houston where he recorded 12 tackles and set the defensive tone early with this great interception.

Parker was the big surprise this year. Starting as a no-name backup nickel back in the preseason he burst onto the scene in October. After being a relative no show in the first four games, Parker used the most of his opportunity against Kansas in the second half by stripping the ball and scoring his first touchdown of his career.

After that Parker’s playing time increased and he shined, finishing the season with 44 tackles, 4 interception, 4 forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. This play made Parker a fan favorite and led to many nicknames. Whether calling him “Justus League,” “Ball Hawk,” or “Wes Welker of the Defense,” he has improved with every game played. Nothing was more evident of this then his performance at the end of the regular season finale when the team needed him most.

Both these players led a revamped Texas Tech defense, and will be back next year to add more to their legacies. Congratulations gentlemen, well deserved.