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2018 Roster countdown: Honorable mentions

Our staff selected its top-15 players on the roster for this season, however these players just barely missed the cut.

Texas Tech v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

We are that much closer to Texas Tech football gracing out televisions every Saturday. With the season approaching, it is time to take a look at some of the impact players that are destined to have a fantastic 2018 season.

Throughout the spring these players have worked hard to get ready for the fall and we’ve noticed. The staff at Viva have compiled a top 15 list with each of us voting on who we believe are the best players on the team. However, just like any poll, there are some players that just missed the cut.

16 (tie). Kolin Hill - Edge, senior

Kolin Hill stats

Season Year Games Tackles TFL Sacks Fumbles Forced Pass Deflections
Season Year Games Tackles TFL Sacks Fumbles Forced Pass Deflections
2017 Junior 13 43 5 2 2 4
2016 Sophomore 12 32 4 1 0 3

After transferring in from Notre Dame, Hill has made major contributions to Texas Tech since he stepped on campus. Hill has made 20 starts in his career, and will continue to be one of the Red Raiders’ primary rushers. Players like Eli Howard, Tony Jones, and Lonzell Gillmore have made the rush position that much more competitive since Hill has gotten to Tech, however I expect this competition to drive Hill’s intensity that much more. Hill is a finesse rusher who’s versatile and experienced. With this being Hill’s senior year, I expect him to go out with a bang before setting his sights on the NFL.

16 (tie). Clayton Hatfield - Kicker, senior

Clayton Hatfield stats

Season Year Games Field goals made Field goals attempted Field goal percentage Extra points made Extra points attemtped Extra point percentage
Season Year Games Field goals made Field goals attempted Field goal percentage Extra points made Extra points attemtped Extra point percentage
2017 Junior 6 6 10 60.00% 22 22 100.00%
2016 Sophomore 12 13 14 92.90% 65 70 92.90%
2015 Freshman 12 14 16 87.50% 53 54 98.10%

Kicking woes haunted the Texas Tech football program last season, however most of that stemmed from Hatfield’s groin injury suffered right before the season. Hatfield seems to be perfectly healthy and with that, Tech’s kicking game is healthy as well. Hatfield is one of the best kickers in all of college football when he’s on and if his 2016 and 2015 campaign is any indication, Hatfield is on quite a bit. Hatfield is an accurate kicker who can make hash mark kicks just as well as the ones in the middle of the field. He’s not known as a big leg kicker though he has made a 50-yard field goal before. Hatfield will have a lot of making up to do to regain the common fan’s trust but there’s very few other kickers in the country the Red Raiders would want.

18. Riko Jeffers - Linebacker, sophomore

Riko Jeffers

Season Year Games Tackles Fumble Recovery
Season Year Games Tackles Fumble Recovery
2017 Freshman 10 22 1

Jeffers was the only non junior or senior to crack the top 20 and for good reason. The man is large, 6’2”, 245 pounds, and speed to boost. Unfortunately for Jeffers, Tech has two of the best linebackers in Big 12 and it will be hard for him to break into one of those positions this season, but having Jeffers as a backup is a wonderful thing. Jeffers size and mobility gives him versatility. He can put pressure on the quarterback, however he excels in the run game. Jeffers is the perfect Dakota Allen replacement and will be ready to lead this defense once Allen leaves. This defense is in good hands going forward.

19. Madison Akamnonu - Offensive line, junior

Madison Akamnonu stats

Season Year Games Starts
Season Year Games Starts
2017 Sophomore 13 13
2016 Freshman 12 7

Madison Akamnonu came to Texas Tech with his large frame standing at 6’5”. That height and size is usually fit for a tackle position however after a freshman season that was fairly disappointing, Akamnonu finally found his niche at the left guard position where he earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention. Akamnonu will likely be the tallest and biggest guard his opponents are going to face. His size and athleticism bode well for him going forward and give him quite the advantage. Linebackers will have a tough time trying to shed blocks when Akamnonu pulls to lead block, which will only propel Tre King and Da’Leon Ward that much more.

20. Seth Collins - Wide receiver, senior

Seth Collins stats

Season Year Games Plays Total yards TDs Yards per play
Season Year Games Plays Total yards TDs Yards per play
2017 Junior 3 17 144 1 8.5
2016 Sophomore 10 51 448 1 8.8

Seth Collins is the high profile grad transfer the coaching staff secured this off-season. Collins is destined to start at the H inside receiver position and will make an immediate impact. Collins transfers in from Oregon State where he was initially the Beavers’ starting quarterback as a freshman. However he was eventually moved to inside receiver where he once again started and excelled. Collins was one of the few bright spots in Oregon State’s offense in 2016 and the coaching staff was excited to see what he could do the following year. Unfortunately, Collins suffered a season-ending knee injury that sidelined him for all of Pac-12 play. Collins has one more year of eligibility left and is looking to make it count with the Red Raiders. He is a quick, dynamic slot receiver that shows flashes of Keke Coutee. If he can be half the receiver Coutee was, Tech fans are in for a treat.

Octavious Morgan - Defensive back, senior

Octavious Morgan stats

Season Year Games Tackles TFL Pass Deflections
Season Year Games Tackles TFL Pass Deflections
2017 Junior 11 40 1 8

The Viva poll was taken after we found out about Morgan’s knee injury. Though we do not know if it’s season ending, we do know that he will be out for a long period of time. Safe to say fully healthy, Morgan definitely is one of the top 15 players for Texas Tech, however with him likely not seeing the field this year, we could not add him. This is only a minor setback for a major comeback, as there’s a good chance Morgan will be able to be redshirted this year even if he comes back at the end of the year. NCAA rule now states a player can play up to four games and still be redshirted and Morgan still has that option on the table.

Others receiving votes: Tony Jones, Terence Steele, Jaylon Lane, Preston Gordon, Erik Ezukanma, Zach Austin, McLane Carter