August might be the best and worst month out of the year. A long summer (or sommar if you like horror movies) of collegiate athletic-drought has fans of all creeds coming at each other for the most pointless stuff. Kansas fans were upset that Tech was pitted against Kentucky in the Big 12/SEC basketball match up. Oklahoma State fans were upset that we published an article saying Tech deserved a WRU nod... it’s just too much, man. Additionally, Texas fans were even upset that Kirk Herbstreit pegged the Longhorns as a title contender.
I’M SORRY PEOPLE LIKE YOUR PROGRAM.
Luckily we’re about a month away from Texas Tech’s first kickoff against Montana State. New coaches, new program culture, new physicality (no, seriously, David Scholz is creating monSTARS out here), but the same Scarlet and Black. With the approach of the 2019 football season comes the release of preseason award watch lists. Texas Tech is represented in at least eight of those lists so we’re going to compile those representatives here for your indulgence.
QB Alan Bowman, sophomore
Davey O’Brien & Maxwell Awards
An undisputed leader for Texas Tech coming into the 2019 season amidst all the coaching changes is none other than QB1. When Kingsbury was replaced with Wells many were concerned that Alan Bowman may leave Tech to pursue more promising prospects. Bowman quickly dismissed those claims by reminding everyone that “I am here for Texas Tech, I love the university and I love the team.”
Bowman’s excellence on and off the field garnered him a spot in the preseason watch lists for both the Davey O’Brien and Maxwell Awards. The Davey O’Brien award honors the nation’s top quarterback where the Maxwell award honors the nation’s “football player of the year” at the collegiate level. There are four Big 12 quarterbacks on the O’Brien list (Brewer, Ehlinger, and Purdy) and ten Big 12 players on the Maxwell list.
After coming in for an injured McLane Carter, Bowman quickly became one of the top freshmen in the country. He amassed 2,638 yards and 17 touchdowns in eight games - averaging 329.8 ypg which was fourth nationally and led all freshman quarterbacks. Bowman also broke the Big 12 and Texas Tech records for freshman single-game passing yards after putting up 605 yards through the air against Houston.
LB Jordyn Brooks, senior
Butkus & Bronko Nagurski Awards
A veteran to keep an eye out for in the upcoming season is Jordyn Brooks; an athlete forced into the leadership role following Dakota Allen’s graduation. Brooks has been without question a staple in Texas Tech’s defensive maturation, and even more so one of the most consistent linebackers in the conference. In the past three years he has racked up 259 tackles, averaging over 80 a year. Although Brooks only ended up on the All-Big 12 preseason honorable mention slot, he has earned nods from the Butkus and Bronko Nagurski award committees.
The Butkus Award honors the nation’s top linebacker, where Brooks is one of four from the Big 12 in a field of 51 linebackers. The record speaks for itself. Brooks sits right outside of the top 10 for Texas Tech’s career tackle record and pundits are taking note of the inevitability with his increased responsibility in Patterson’s scheme. A part of the new defensive structure allows linebackers to call audibles if and when they spot something that the upstairs guys aren’t. This, no doubt, allows guys like Brooks to excel on the field both as a leader as well as a tackler. That increase in decision making, coupled with his projected tackles for the season also landed him on the preseason list for the Bronko Nagurski trophy - given to the defensive player of the year across college football.
WR McLane Mannix, junior
One transfer that many are keeping their eyes on is Midland native McLane Mannix, so much that he earned a spot on the preseason watch list for the Biletnikoff Award. The Biletnikoff is given to the nation’s top receiver; something Mannix is aiming for with Tech’s reputation as a gun-slinging program. This may even be a little personal with Mannix, who was in the Biletnikoff race last year as well while he was on roster at Nevada.
In his first two collegiate seasons with the Wolfpack, Mannix recorded 1,653 yards and 13 touchdowns on 107 receptions. He earned Freshman All-America honors after averaging 13.6 yards per catch, second nationally among freshmen. As a sophomore he continued to impress with another 800+ yard season, and hopes that the Red Raiders will give him an opportunity to close out on the prestigious honor.
Texas Tech is no stranger to the Biletnikoff Award, having been represented in the race 14 out of the last 15 seasons. Michael Crabtree is the only recipient of the award that Texas Tech has had so far, but the competitive nature of our receivers keeps Tech knocking on the door.
OL Travis Bruffy, senior
AFCA Good Works & Wuerffel Awards
Football is always bigger than what happens on the field, and that’s why Travis Bruffy has landed on both the AFCA Good Works and Wuerffel preseason watch lists. He is one of 86 athletes for the AFCA and one of 137 for the Wuerffel awards - given to the athletes that exemplify service off the field with athletic and academic achievement. For Texas Tech, Bruffy is that guy that is head and shoulders above just being an athlete. At the Big 12 media days he shined in navigating difficult questions regarding everything around football, sportsmanship and even hair.
Bruffy is a two-time Academic All-Big 12 first team honoree, attendee of the NCAA Autonomy Convention (one of four football athletes), and also is the president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for Texas Tech. Coupled with his off the field success, Bruffey has started in 22 games for Tech, earning honorable mention for All-Big 12 the last two seasons.
With the Horns Down debate making headlines once again, I encourage y'all to listen to Travis Bruffy's thoughts on it from yesterday, probably one of the most reasonable and measured opinions you'll find on the topic from anyone in college football. pic.twitter.com/2zaY2NPCPz— Eric Kelly (@EricKellyTV) July 16, 2019
OL Jack Anderson, junior
Outland Award & All-Big 12 preseason
Jack Anderson is one of the key pieces for the offensive line in the upcoming season and has been recognized for his efforts in the trenches. The junior landed on the All-Big 12 preseason team as well in the list for the Outland trophy - an award given to the nation’s top interior lineman. The award includes both offensive and defensive linemen, and has a strong field of 83 athletes across the country.
Although a junior, Anderson is one of the most established players on the offensive line - having started in all 25 games of his career as a Red Raider. As a freshman he earned All-America honors and then landed on the All-Big 12 second team as a sophomore. Between Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, Pro Football Focus, and the All-Big 12 preseason team it seems Anderson’s production on the field hasn’t been lost on anybody.
Countdown to Camp: Offensive Line Preview— Ryan King (@Ryan_King_Now) July 16, 2019
The 2019 Red Raider Offensive Line is looking to dominate the line of scrimmage in the Big 12 with seniors Terence Steele and @bruffytravis as well as Preseason All Big 12 selection @JackAnderson_53 #WreckEm pic.twitter.com/iJRSEjT9kd
DB Adrian Frye, sophomore
All-Big 12 preseason
Finally, and unsurprisingly, Adrian Frye was tabbed on the All-Big 12 preseason list alongside Jack Anderson as some of the best in the Big 12. As a freshman, Frye demanded a level of respect from his opposing wide receivers: leading the Big 12 in passes defended per game, total passes defended and total interceptions. In the NCAA as a whole he ranked 7th in the country for passes defended and 10th in total passes defended as well as interceptions. Frye is the first Tech freshman since Michael Crabtree to earn All-Big 12 first team honors and is considered to be one of the best defensive backs going into the 2019 season.