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Roster Countdown No. 7: T.J. Vasher

As our countdown continues, we spotlight breakout wide receiver T.J. Vasher.

Texas Tech v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

T.J. Vasher is the seventh best player on our top-15 countdown, and he’s primed for an All-Conference caliber season. Vasher made it to campus via the Wichita Falls Rider, same as former Red Raider standout Eric Ward, and briefly appeared in his freshman season before succumbing to injury. Thankfully, he qualified for a redshirt that year and burst onto the season in Big 12 play last fall. He spelled Derrick Willies from the Oklahoma game on, and never truly relinquished the starting role after that. Let’s take a look at where Vasher thrives.

Being 6’6” clearly has it’s benefits and it allows Vasher to contort his body to box out defenders on red zone routes as seen above. We regularly saw this type of play from Vasher when he’s required to work in small spaces near the end zone.

We see Vasher again make a key play in the end zone, but, this highlight was extremely bittersweet given the type of game Vasher had prior to that touchdown. Lest we forget, Vasher dropped roughly 4-5 passes in this game - like hit your hands with no one on you open - and that’s the biggest hinderance to his stardom. We’ve also heard multiple times over this offseason that TJ Vasher’s lack of maturity off the field, and inconsistency with his concentration have been key focuses this year.

Vasher finished 2017 with 545 yards receiving, 6 TDs, and averaged over 18 yards/catch. More impressively, once Vasher was featured on a regular basis in the final eight games he averaged close to 70 yards/game. Spelled out over a 13 game season, he tracked towards having almost a 1,000 yard season. I make mention of this because generally wide receivers are slow to develop and you’ll see flashes in a season prior, which hints at things to come. All of this production also came when the Texas Tech’s offense started to sputter with Shimonek at quarterback, and Vasher saved his best game for McLane Carter’s first start. His rapport with Carter could make or break this upcoming 2018 season.

We’ll see what kind of year Vasher has this fall, but I’d set the expectations at 1,000 yards, and double digit touchdowns. There’s likely not a more talented skill player for the Red Raiders this season and I speculate we’ll compete about as effectively as Vasher can win on the outside. This rings especially true when you’re wanting to create light boxes for our potentially potent running game. If the safety needs to play over the top of Vasher, we’ll regularly see 6-7 man boxes and I’d put my money on an experienced offensive line and running backs to take advantage. Regardless - I’m willing to bet on Vasher to get the job done.

What does every else think of Vasher? Do you expect him to have a breakout campaign as well?