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The Return to Dominance on the Defensive Front Begins NOW

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Improvement for the defense begins up front

NCAA Football: Sam Houston State at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The whole period of Coach Kingsbury’s tenure as our head coach, the defensive line has been a subject of debate. First it had to be stocked with JUCO players just to fill spots. Then we had a 5-star recruit that was going to cause havoc in the opponents backfield and be a solid anchor, but never was that noticeable on the field and later transferred. Now we have a line that is arguably the deepest position group on the team, with 19 players officially listed as defensive linemen. The question remains, how good will this group be? In the past 4 years, the rush defense has ranked no higher than 100th in the nation, and has allowed at least 200 yards per game over the course of a season. It’s time for those numbers to be a memory, and new memories to be made.

Losses on the Line

Breiden Fehoko

Fehoko joined the Red Raiders in 2015 a 5-star recruit and immediately started as a true freshman but never truly lived up to the hype for many fans. In 2 years he had 38 tackles in 25 games and 2 sacks. Now Breiden is in Baton Rouge with LSU and the line will need to develop a new identity.

Ondre Pipkins

Pipkins came in as a transfer from Michigan, playing just a single season for Tech. Ondre was the real force on the line last year, leading interior linemen in tackles. He was signed by the Redskins as an undrafted free agent.

Experienced Returners

Kolin Hill

Kolin and his twin brother Kaleb are from Schertz, in the San Antonio area, but Kolin came to Lubbock via South Bend, as he played a year at Notre Dame (before they went 4-8). Last season Kolin started in all but 1 game, and played in all 12, ranking 3rd among defensive linemen in tackles and led the line in pass breakups.

Zach Barnes

Zach was part of the needed bodies lineup in 2013, playing in 5 games as a true freshman before redshirting as a sophomore in 2014. He appeared in 10 games last season, with 11 tackles on the season, including a solo sack against SFA.

Lonzell Gilmore

Lonzell was a highly touted recruit out of Spring, Texas, winning defensive mvp in district 15-6A. Last season Gilmore played all 12 games in limited action.

Talor Nunez

Talor is a converted quarterback, and is a mainstay on the Tech special teams unit. His most famous play was catching a pass for a first down on a fake punt against Oklahoma State last season.

Broderick Washington Jr

Broderick worked his way into a starting role at the end of last season and has the potential to be one of our best linemen this year.

Joseph Wallace

Joseph was a highly touted recruit out of Dallas Skyline, playing 8 games last year with 10 tackles. At 6’1 and 315 pounds, Wallace has already shown a knack for getting into the opponents backfield.

Mychealon Thomas

Also from Dallas Skyline by way of Butler Community College, “Big Mych” returns to anchor the interior of the line.

New Faces

Eli Howard

Eli was rated one of the top linemen in west Texas, playing for Central in San Angelo. After a year at UNT he transferred to Tech where he was considered one of the top members of the scout team. He’s fighting to come back from a knee injury, battling Kolin Hill for one of the end positions.

Nick McCann

Nick found his way on many All-State lists as a senior in Texarkana, and like Howard spent last year on the scout team. In the open scrimmage earlier this month Nick started on the inside with Broderick Washington.

Impact Player

Houston Miller

Houston came out of Keller as a consensus 4-star recruit and a ridiculous amount of tackles. He spent last year in the gym and has put on 25 pounds. We talked to Houston the day he committed and you can tell how excited he is to be in Lubbock. As a highschooler his highlight reel was packed with impressive plays, something that we will see from Houston as soon as he makes his way up the depth chart.

Predicted Depth Chart


Eli Howard

Lonzell Gilmore


Mychealon Thomas

Zach Barnes


Broderick Washington

Joseph Wallace


Kolin Hill

Houston Miller


For there to be a considered improvement on the DL, how many rushing yards per game should the defense allow?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Less than 100
    (16 votes)
  • 64%
    (233 votes)
  • 28%
    (102 votes)
  • 2%
    200 or more
    (8 votes)
359 votes total Vote Now