This series of articles will break down the Red Raiders roster approaching the 2017 season. Staff members selected their top-15 players currently on the roster and for each one of them there will be a profile with basic information, videos and expectations.
Position: Defensive Back
Weight: 190 pounds
Hometown: Lithonia, Georgia
At thirteen we find a player who wouldn’t have imagined playing as a cornerback until his junior season: yep, D.J. Polite-Bray was recruited as a wide receiver and in that position he spent his first two years in Lubbock.
Georgia is not the typical recruiting hotbed for Texas Tech, but the Red Raiders obtained the commitment of this fast receiver (he also ran the 4x100 relay in high school), overcoming the competition of many other schools like Colorado State, Louisville, Memphis, Middle Tennessee State, Mississippi, SMU, Tennessee, and Utah.
He was a consensus three-stars recruit but he failed to show his abilities on the field. Consequently, he had little playing time and poor production in his first two years in Lubbock, with a total of 13 receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown.
After two frustrating years, the coaching staff began to imagine Polite-Bray as a cornerback and started his transition to the new position. The indications were good and he was moved to the defensive side of the ball after a redshirt season. The 2016 season confirmed that the impressions were right and showed that the experiment could work: Polite-Bray had nine starts, his speed was useful to cover opposing wide receivers with some success, and he had five pass breakups, the fourth highest on the team.
When coaches were figuring the transition, they could imagine that his speed was helpful, and Polite-Bray is very quick to react to field situations and can regain his position as a receiver also if he loses some steps. They probably didn’t project him to be a solid tackler, who can stop the opponent and avoid other yard losses but he is.
Now, the confirmation: Polite-Bray is projected to be a starter his senior year and spring trainings demonstrated that he deserves this position. Even the defensive coordinator David Gibbs spoke highly of him as he was one of the standout players of the session.
In the end, Polite-Bray enters his last season in college and would like both to help his younger teammates to improve, and to leave a good memory to fans.