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Even this rough season had a couple of brights spots, highlighted by a surprise quarterback and a senior leader

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Although I’m not one for moral victories, these story lines are something to build on.

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

This football season was rough for us all from the most involved fans to the ones that just occasionally look at a box score. This season was so close to being something very special and there are certainly many things to look forward to from recruiting to the returning players coming back next season.

There were three story lines in particular that really made me happy and proud to be a Red Raider. From a senior linebacker playing at the highest level to an unexpected quarterback, this season had its moments. So without further delay, let’s talk some positives.

1. Jett Duffey breaks out

I will readily admit that I was wrong about Jett Duffey coming into this season. Alan Bowman came in as the quarterback and it seemed as we ticked closer to the season that Jett Duffey would transfer after he graduated this spring.

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

I was wrong, as were many others. Who could have seen the emergence of Duffey? He came in last season as a backup for Bowman and it appeared that he would never emerge from his backup position and it appeared even more bleak when Jackson Tyner started instead of Duffey against Oklahoma after Alan Bowman suffered an injury.

Duffey came into that Oklahoma game and never gave up his spot for the rest of the season. He finished with 2,800 yards passing with 18 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He also helped spark a offense that was stagnant for the majority of the season.

2. Sa’Rodorick Thompson becomes the man in the running back room

Coming into this season, nobody really knew what to expect from the second-year running back this season. He was expected to be one of the three running backs that were gonna have get a share of the snaps this season.

Due to injury, Thompson had to step up and he did in a big way. Even though he was battling injuries of his own this season, he led the team in all purpose yards and rushing yards with 766 yards rushing and 154 yards receiving on the year.

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Texas Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

He led the team with 12 rushing touchdowns as he was the go-to guy inside the red zone this season. Thompson should be the bell-cow back going into next season as he showed he could be the guy to take that next step to an elite running back next season.

3. Jordyn Brooks leads this defense at an All-American level

Jordyn Brooks had his way with all of the offenses that he and the Red Raiders faced this season. He transitioned into new defensive coordinator Keith Patterson’s linebacker position seamlessly as there was a definite jump from great to elite this season.

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Brooks was not only very solid in the run game, he had the speed to keep up and spy on quarterbacks in the backfield, making many great tackles in the open field. His primary job in the pass game was to make sure the quarterback didn’t sneak for positive yardage.

He led the team with 108 total tackles on the season and also chipped in 20 of those tackles for loss. He was truly the heart and soul of a much improved Texas Tech defense this season. I have no doubt in my mind that he will hear his name called in the NFL Draft this off-season.

NCAA Football: Big 12 Media Days Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

These three story lines are just some of the positive things that happened this season. This was an up and down season with a ton of injuries and the flaws of this team were really shown, especially late in the season.

We all knew that this could be a rebuilding season for this program. Fortunately, this coaching staff has their act together from a recruiting standpoint and I believe this team will be on a huge upswing next season with guys returning having a full year under their belts. I trust this Head Coach and think he can lead this team back to the above average production this program has been used to before 2010.